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Full text of "The clansman : an historical romance of the Ku Klux Klan"

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THE CLANSMAN 



The Illustrations Shown in 
This Edition Are Reproduc- 
tions of Scenes from the 
Photo-Play of "The 
Birth of a Nation" 
Produced and Copyrighted 
by The Epoch Producing 
Corporation, to Whom the 
Publishers Desire to Ex- 
press Their Thanks and 
Appreciation for Permis- 
sion to Use the Pictures. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant 



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THE REIGN OF THE KLAN. 
Scene from the Photo-Play "The Birth of a Nation." 



THE CLANSMAN 

AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE 
OF THE KU KLUX KLAN 



BY 

THOMAS DIXON, Jr. 

AUTHOR OF 

THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS, COMRADES, ETC. 



ILLUSTRATED WITH SCENES FROM THE PHOTO-PLAY 

THE BIRTH OF A NATION 

PRODUCED AND COPYRIGHTED BY, 
EPOCH PRODUCING CORPORATION 




GROSSET & DUNLAP 

PUBLISHERS I : NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1905 
By Thomas Dixon, Jr. 



THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y, 



TO THE MEMORY OE 
A SCOTCH-IRISH LEADER OF THE SOUTH 

9$V Unrlr, Coloiul %ttov aarflfrr 

GRAND TITAN OF THE INVISIBLE EMFIRE 
KU KLUX KLAN 



TO THE READER 

"The Clansman" is the second book of a series of 
historical novels planned on the Race Conflict. "The 
Leopard's Spots" was the statement in historical outline 
of the conditions from the enfranchisement of the negro 
to his disfranchisement. 

"The Clansman" develops the true story of the "Ku 
Klux Klan Conspiracy," which overturned the Recon- 
struction regime. 

The organization was governed by the Grand Wizard 
Commander-in-Chief, who lived at Memphis, Tennessee. 
The Grand Dragon commanded a State, the Grand 
Titan a Congressional District, the Grand Giant a 
County, and the Grand Cyclops a Township Den. The 
twelve volumes of Government reports on the famous 
Klan refer chiefly to events which occurred after 1870, 
the date of its dissolution. 

The chaos of blind passion that followed Lincoln's 
assassination is inconceivable to-day. The revolution 
it produced in our Government, and the bold attempt 
of Thaddeus Stevens to Africanize ten great States 
of the American Union, read now like tales from "The 
Arabian Nights." 

I have sought to preserve in this romance both the 
letter and the spirit of this remarkable period. The 
men who enact the drama of fierce revenge into which 



To the Reader 

I have woven a double love story are historical figures. 
I have merely changed their names without taking a 
liberty with any essential historic fact. 

In the darkest hour of the life of the South, when her 
wounded people lay helpless amid rags and ashes under 
the beak and talon of the Vulture, suddenly from the 
mists of the mountains appeared a white cloud the size 
of a man's hand. It grew until its mantle of mystery 
enfolded the stricken earth and sky. An "Invisible 
Empire" had risen from the field of Death and challenged 
the Visible to mortal combat. 

How the young South, led by the reincarnated souls of 
the Clansmen of Old Scotland, went forth under this 
cover and against overwhelming odds, daring exile, im- 
prisonment, and a felon's death, and saved the life of a 
people, forms one of the most dramatic chapters in the 
history of the Aryan race. 

Thomas Dixon, Jr. 

Dixondale, Va. 
December 14, 1904. 



PAGE 



CONTENTS > 

BOOK I 

THE ASSASSINATION 

I. The Bruised Reed ....... 3 

II. The Great Heart 19 

IH. The Man of War 33 

IV. A Clash of Giants 38 

V. . The Battle of Love 56 

VI. . The Assassination . . . . . • 61 

| VII. The Frenzy of a Nation ..... 80 

BOOK II 
THE REVOLUTION 

CHAPTER , PAGE 

I. The First Lady of the Land . _ . - . "' . 90 

II. Sweethearts . . . ." f . 3 ." . 101 

III. The Joy of Living . |, ... . 112 

TV. Hidden Treasure . . ..... 115 

V. Across the Chasm 120 

VI. The Gauge of Battle . . . . ... 131 

VII. A Woman Laughs '. : . 136 

VIII. A Dream . v . 148 

IX. The Eang Amuses Himself ..' . ./^ ■'.■'■_'. 152 

X. Tossed by the Storm . . ." T ' . . 162 

XI. The Supreme Test ..... "";"; ^5 

XII. Triumph in Defeat i . .,, |.73 TF - J 73 



Contents 

BOOK III 
THE REIGN OF TERROR 



PAGE 



I. A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion . . . 187 

II. The Eyes of the Jungle 204 

III. Augustus Caesar 209 

IV. At the Point of the Bayonet .... 218 
V. Forty Acres and a Mule ...... 235 

VI. A Whisper in the Crowd 244 

VII. By the Light of a Torch 254 

VIII. The Riot in the Master's Hall .... 263 

IX. At Lover's Leap 276 

X. A Night Hawk . [ .284 

f, XL The Beat of a Sparrow's Wing .... 297 

XH. At the Dawn of Day 305 

BOOK IV 
THE KU KLUX KLAN 



PAGE 



I. The Hunt for the Animal . . . . . 309 

n. The Fiery Cross .318 

III. The Parting of the Ways 327 

IV. The Banner of the Dragon 337 

V. The Reign of the Klan . . . . . . 341 

S VI. The Counter Stroke .351 

VII. The Snare of the Fowler 358 

VIII. A Ride for a Life . . . . . . . . 362 

IX. "Vengeance is Mine" 369 



LEADING CHARACTERS OF THE STORY 

Scene: Washington and the Foothills of the Carolinas. 
Time: 1865 to 1870. 

Ben Cameron . Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan 

Margaret His Sister 

Mrs. Cameron His Mother 

Dr. Richard Cameron His Father 

Hon. Austin Stoneman . Radical Leader of Congress 

Phil His Son 

Elsie His Daughter 

Marion Lenoir Ben's First Love 

Mrs. Lenoir Her Mother 

Jake A Faithful Man 

Silas Lynch A Negro Missionary 

Uncle Aleck .... The Member from Ulster 

Cindy His Wife 

Colonel Howle A Carpet-bagger 

Augustus C^sar . . . . Of the Black Guard 

Charles Sumner Of Massachusetts 

Gen. Benjamin F. Butler ... Of Fort Fisher 

Andrew Johnson The President 

U. S. Grant .... The Commanding General 
Abraham Lincoln . . . The Friend of the South 



THE CLANSMAN 

Book I— The Assassination 

CHAPTER I 
The Bruised Reed 



T 



HE fair girl who was playing a banjo and singing 
to the wounded soldiers suddenly stopped, and, 
turning to the surgeon, whispered*^ 



fwnats tnatr 

"It sounds like a mob- 



With a common impulse they moved to the open win- 
dow of the hospital and listened. 
; On the soft spring air came the roar of excited thou- 
sands sweeping down the avenue from the Capitol toward 
the White House. Above all rang the cries of struggling 
newsboys screaming an "Extra." One of them darted 
around the corner, his shrill voice quivering with excite- 
ment: 

"Extra I Extra! Peace! Victory!" 

Windows were suddenly raised, women thrust their 
heads out, and others rushed into the street and crowded 
around the boy, struggling to get his papers. He threw 
them right and left and snatched the money — no one 
asked for change. Without ceasing rose his cry: 

3 



4 The Clansman 

1 ' Extra ! Peace ! Victory I Lee has surrendered I ' ' 

At last the end had come. 

The great North, with its millions of sturdy people 
and their exhaustless resources, had greeted the first 
shot on Sumter with contempt and incredulity. A few 
regiments went forward for a month's outing to settle 
the trouble. The Thirteenth Brooklyn marched gayly 
Southward on a thirty days' jaunt, with pieces of rope 
conspicuously tied to their muskets with which to 
bring back each man a Southern prisoner to be led in 
a noose through the streets on their early triumphant 
return! It would be unkind to tell what became of 
those ropes when they suddenly started back home 
ahead of the scheduled time from the first battle of 
Bull Run. 

People from the South, equally wise, marched gayly 
North, to whip five Yankees each before breakfast, and 
encountered unforeseen difficulties. 

Both sides had things to learn, and learned them in a 
school whose logic is final — a four years' course in the 
University of Hell — the scream of eagles, the howl of 
wolves, the bay of tigers, the roar of lions — all locked 
in Death's embrace, and each mad scene lit by the 
glare of volcanoes of savage passions! 

But the long agony was over. 

The city bells began to ring. The guns of the forts 
joined the chorus, and their deep steel throats roared 
until the earth trembled. 

Just across the street a mother who was reading the 
fateful news turned and suddenly clasped a boy to her 



The Bruised Reed 5 

heart, crying for joy. The last draft of half a million had 
called for him. 

The Capital of the Nation was shaking off the long 
nightmare of horror and suspense. More than once the 
city had shivered at the mercy of those daring men in 
gray, and the reveille of their drums had startled even the 
President at his desk. 

Again and again had the destiny of the Republic hung 
on the turning of a hair, and in every crisis, Luck, Fate, 
God, had tipped the scale for the Union. 

A procession of more than five hundred Confederate 
deserters, who had crossed the lines in groups, swung into 
view, marching past the hospital, indifferent to the 
tumult. Only a nominal guard flanked them as they 
shuffled along, tired, ragged, and dirty. The gray in 
their uniforms was now the colour of clay. Some had on 
blue pantaloons, some blue vests, others blue coats 
captured on the field of blood. Some had pieces of 
carpet, and others old bags around their shoulders. 
They had been passing thus for weeks. Nobody paid any 
attention to them. 

"One of the secrets of the surrender!" exclaimed Doc- 
tor Barnes. "Mr. Lincoln has been at the front for the 
past weeks with offers of peace and mercy, if they would 
lay down their arms. The great soul of the President, 
even the genius of Lee could not resist. His smile began 
to melt those gray ranks as the sun is warming the earth 
to-day." 

"You are a great admirer of the President," said the 
girl, with a curious smile. 



6 The Clansman 

"Yes, Miss Elsie, and so are all who know him." 

She turned from the window without reply. A shadow 
crossed her face as she looked past the long rows of cots, 
on which rested the men in blue, until her eyes found one 
on which lay, alone among his enemies, a young Con- 
federate officer. 

The surgeon turned with her toward the man. 

"Will he live?" she asked. 

"Yes, only to be hung." 

"For what?" she cried. 

"Sentenced by court-martial as a guerilla. It's a lie, 
but there's some powerful hand back of it — some mys- 
terious influence in high authority. The boy wasn't fully 
conscious at the trial." 

"We must appeal to Mr. Stanton." 

"As well appeal to the devil. They say the order 
came from his office." 

"A boy of nineteen!" she exclaimed. "It's a shame. 
I'm looking for his mother. You told me to telegraph to 
Richmond for her." 

"Yes, I'll never forget his cries that night, so utterly 
pitiful and childlike. I've heard many a cry of pain, but 
in all my life nothing so heartbreaking as that boy in 
fevered delirium talking to his mother. His voice is one 
of peculiar tenderness, penetrating and musical. It goes 
quivering into your soul, and compels you to listen until 
you swear it's your brother or sweetheart or sister or 
mother calling you. You should have seen him the 
day he fell. God of mercies, the pity and the glory 
of it!" 



The Bruised Reed 7 

"Phil wrote me that he was a hero and asked me to 
look after him. Were you there?" 

"Yes, with the battery your brother was supporting. 
He was the colonel of a shattered rebel regiment lying 
just in front of us before Petersburg. Richmond was 
doomed, resistance was madness, but there they were, 
ragged and half starved, a handful of men, not more than 
four hundred, but their bayonets gleamed and flashed in 
the sunlight. In the face of a murderous fire he charged 
and actually drove our men out of an entrenchment. 'We 
concentrated our guns on him as he crouched behind this 
earthwork. Our own men lay outside in scores, dead, 
dying, and wounded. When the fire slacked, we could 
hear their cries for water. 

"Suddenly this boy sprang on the breastwork. He 
was dressed in a new gray colonel's uniform that mother 
of his, in the pride of her soul, had sent him. 

"He was a handsome figure — tall, slender, straight, a 
gorgeous yellow sash tasselled with gold around his 
waist, his sword flashing in the sun, his slouch hat cocked 
on one side and an eagle's feather in it. 

"We thought he was going to lead another charge, but 
just as the battery was making ready to fire he deliber- 
ately walked down the embankment in a hail of musketry 
and began to give water to our wounded men. 

"Every gun ceased firing, and we watched him. He 
walked back to the trench, his naked sword flashed 
suddenly above that eagle's feather, and his grizzled 
ragamuffins sprang forward and charged us like so many 
demons. 



8 The Clansman 

"There were not more than three hundred of them now, 
but on they came, giving that hellish rebel yell at every 
jump — the cry of the hunter from the hilltop at the sight 
of his game! All Southern men are hunters, and that 
cry was transformed in war into something unearthly 
when it came from a hundred throats in chorus and the 
game was human. 

"Of course, it was madness. We blew them down 
that hill like chaff before a hurricane. When the last man 
had staggered back or fallen, on came this boy alone, 
carrying the colours he had snatched from a falling 
soldier, as if he were leading a million men to victory. 

"A bullet had blown his hat from his head, and we 
could see the blood streaming down the side of his face. 
He charged straight into the jaws of one of our guns. 
And then, with a smile on his lips and a dare to death in 
his big brown eyes, he rammed that flag into the cannon's 
mouth, reeled, and fell! A cheer broke from our men. 

"Your brother sprang forward and caught him in his 
arms, and as we bent over the unconscious form, he ex- 
claimed: 'My God, doctor, look at him! He is so much 
like me I feel as if I had been shot myself!' They were 
as much alike as twins — only his hair was darker. I 
tell you, Miss Elsie, it's a sin to kill men like that. One 
such man is worth more to this nation than every negro 
that ever set his flat foot on this continent! " 

The girl's eyes had grown dim as she listened to the 
story. 

"I will appeal to the President," she said firmly. 

"It's the only chance. And just now he is under 



The Bruised Reed 9 

tremendous pressure. His friendly order to the Virginia 
Legislature to return to Richmond Stanton forced him 
to cancel. A master hand has organized a conspiracy in 
Congress to crush the President. They curse his policy 
of mercy as imbecility, and swear to make the South a 
second Poland. Their watchwords are vengeance and 
confiscation. Four fifths of his party in Congress are 
in this plot. The President has less than a dozen real 
friends in either House on whom he can depend. They 
say that Stanton is to be given a free hand, and that the 
gallows will be busy. This cancelled order of the Presi- 
dent looks like it." 

"I'll try my hand with Mr. Stanton," she said with 
slow emphasis. 

"Good luck, Little Sister — let me know if I can help," 
the surgeon answered cheerily as he passed on his round 
of work. 

Elsie Stoneman took her seat beside the cot of the 
wounded Confederate and began softly to sing and play. 

A little farther along the same row a soldier was dying, 
a faint choking just audible in his throat. An attendant 
sat beside him and would not leave till the last. The 
ordinary chat and hum of the ward went on indifferent 
to peace, victory, life, or death. Before the finality of 
the hospital all other events of earth fade. Some were 
playing cards or checkers, some laughing and joking, and 
others reading. 

At the first soft note from the singer the games^ceased, 
and the reader put down his book. 

The banjo had come to Washington with the negroes 



10 The Clansman 

following the wake of the army. She had laid aside her 
guitar and learned to play all the stirring camp songs of 
the South. Her voice was low, soothing, and tender. It 
held every silent listener in a spell. 

As she played and sang the songs the wounded man 
loved, her eyes lingered in pity on his sun-bronzed face, 
pinched and drawn with fever. He was sleeping the 
stupid sleep that gives no rest. She could count the 
irregular pounding of his heart in the throb of the big 
vein on his neck. His lips were dry and burnt, and the 
little boyish moustache curled upward from the row of 
white teeth as if scorched by the fiery breath. 

He began to talk in nighty sentences, and she listened — 
his mother — his sister — and yes, she was sure as she bent 
nearer — a little sweetheart who lived next door. They 
all had sweethearts — these Southern boys. Again he 
was teasing his dog — and then back in battle. 

At length he opened his eyes, great dark-brown eyes, 
unnaturally bright, with a strange yearning look in their 
depths as they rested on Elsie. He tried to smile and 
feebly said: 

' ' Here's — a — fly — on — my — left — ear — my — guns — 
can't— somehow — reach — him — won't — you ' ' 

She sprang forward and brushed the fly away. 

Again he opened his eyes. 

"Excuse — me — for — asking — but am I alive?" 

"Yes, indeed," was the cheerful answer. 

"Well, now, then, is this me, or is it not me, or has a 
cannon shot me, or has the devil got me?" 

"It's you. The cannon didn't shoot you, but three 



The Bruised Reed 11 

muskets did. The devil hasn't got you yet, but he will 
unless you're good." 

"I'll be good if you won't leave me " 

Elsie turned her head away smiling, and he went on 
slowly: 

"But I'm dead, I know. I'm sleeping on a cot with a 
canopy over it. I ain't hungry any more, and an angel 
has been hovering over me playing on a harp of gold " 

"Only a little Yankee girl playing the banjo." 

"Can't fool me — I'm in heaven." 

"You're in the hospital." 

"Funny hospital — look at that harp and that big 
trumpet hanging close by it — that's Gabriel's trum- 
pet " 

"No," she laughed. "This is the Patent Office building, 
that covers two blocks, now a temporary hospital. There 
are seventy thousand wounded soldiers in town, and more 
coming on every train. The thirty-five hospitals are 
overcrowded." 

He closed his eyes a moment in silence, and then spoke 
with a feeble tremor: 

"I'm afraid you don't know who I am — I can't impose 
on you — I'm a rebel " 

"Yes, I know. You are Colonel Ben Cameron. It 
makes no difference to me now which side you fought on." 

"Well, I'm in heaven — been dead a long time. I can 
prove it, if you'll play again." 

"What shall I play?" 

"First, l O Jonny Booker Help dis Nigger.' " 

She played and sang it beautifully. 



12 The Clansman 

"Now, 'Wake Up in the Morning.'" 

Again he listened with wide, staring eyes that saw 
nothing except visions within. 

"Now, then, 'The Ole Gray Hoss.' " 

As the last notes died away he tried to smile again: 

"One more — 'Hard Times ari> Wuss er Comiri '.' " 

With deft, sure touch and soft negro dialect she sang it 
through. 

"Now, didn't I tell you that you couldn't fool me? No 
Yankee girl could play and sing these songs. I'm in 
heaven, and you're an angel." 

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself to flirt with me, with 
one foot in the grave? " 

"That's the time to get on good terms with the angels 
— but I'm done dead " 

Elsie laughed in spite of herself. 

"I know it," he went on, "because you have shining 
golden hair and amber eyes instead of blue ones. I never 
saw a girl in my life before with such eyes and hair." 

"But you're young yet." 

"Never — was — such — a — girl — on — earth — you're — 
an " 

She lifted her ringer in warning, and his eyelids drooped 
in exhausted stupor. 

"You musn't talk any more," she whispered, shaking 
her head. 

A commotion at the door caused Elsie to turn from the 
cot. A sweet motherly woman of fifty, in an old faded 
black dress, was pleading with the guard to be allowed 
to pass. 



The Bruised Reed 13 

"Can't do it, m'um. It's agin the rules." 

"But I must go in. I've tramped for four days through 
a wilderness of hospitals, and I know he must be here." 

"Special orders, m'um — wounded rebels in here that 
belong in prison." 

"Very well, young man," said the pleading voice. 
"My baby boy's in this place, wounded and about to die. 
I'm going in there. You can shoot me if you like, or you 
can turn your head the other way." 

She stepped quickly past the soldier, who merely stared 
with dim eyes out the door and saw nothing. 

She stood for a moment with a look of helpless bewilder- 
ment. The vast area of the second story of the great 
monolithic pile was crowded with rows of sick, wounded, 
and dying men — a strange, solemn, and curious sight. 
Against the walls were ponderous glass cases, filled 
with models of every kind of invention the genius of man 
had dreamed. Between these cases were deep lateral 
openings, eight feet wide, crowded with the sick, and long 
rows of them were stretched through the centre of the 
hall. A gallery ran around above the cases, and this was 
filled with cots. The clatter of the feet of passing sur- 
geons and nurses over the marble floor added to the weird 
impression. 

Elsie saw the look of helpless appeal in the mother's 
face and hurried forward to meet her: 

"Is this Mrs. Cameron, of South Carolina?" 

The trembling figure in black grasped her hand eagerly: 

"Yes, yes, my dear, and I'm looking for my boy, who 
is wounded unto death. Can you help me? " 



14 The Clansman 

" I thought I recognized you from a miniature I've seen," 
she answered softly. "I'll lead you direct to Ms cot." 

"Thank you, thank you! " came the low reply. 

In a moment she was beside him, and Elsie walked 
away to the open window through which came the chirp 
of sparrows from the lilac bushes in full bloom below. 

The mother threw one look of infinite tenderness 
on the drawn face, and her hands suddenly clasped in 
prayer: 

i. "I thank Thee, Lord Jesus, for this hour! Thou hast 
heard the cry of my soul and led my feet!" She gently 
knelt, kissed the hot lips, smoothed the dark tangled hair 
back from his forehead, and her hand rested over his eyes. 

A faint flush tinged his face. 

"It's you, Mamma — I — know — you — that's — your — 
hand — or — else — it's — God's ! " 

She slipped her arms about him. 

"My hero, my darling, my baby!" 

"I'll get well now, Mamma, never fear. You see, I had 
whipped them that day as I had many a time before. I 
don't know how it happened — my men seemed all to go 
down at once. You know — I couldn't surrender in 
that new uniform of a colonel you sent me — we made a 
gallant fight, and — now — I'm — just — a — little — tired — 
but you are here, and it's all right." 

"Yes, yes, dear. It's all over now. General Lee has 
surrendered, and when you are better I'll take you home, 
where the sunshine and flowers will give you strength 
again." 

"How's my little sis?" 



The Bruised Reed 15 

"Hunting in another part of the city for you. She's 
grown so tall and stately you'll hardly know her. Your 
papa is at home, and don't know yet that you are 
wounded." 

"And my sweetheart, Marion Lenoir?" 

"The most beautiful little girl in Piedmont — as sweet 
and mischievous as ever. Mr. Lenoir is very ill, but 
he has written a glorious poem about one of your charges. 
I'll show it to you to-morrow. He is our greatest poet. 
The, South worships him. Marion sent her love to you 
and a kiss for the young hero of Piedmont. I'll give it 
to you now." 

She bent again and kissed him. 

"And my dogs?" 

" General Sherman left them, at least." 

"Well, I'm glad of that — my mare all right?" 

"Yes, but we had a time to save her — Jake hid her in 
the woods till the army passed." 

"Bully for Jake." 

"I don't know what we should have done without him." 

" Old Aleck still at home and getting drunk as usual? " 

"No, he ran away with the army and persuaded every 
negro on the Lenoir place to go, except his wife, Aunt 
Cindy." 

"The old rascal, when Mrs. Lenoir's mother saved him 
from burning to death when he was a boy!" 

"Yes, and he told the Yankees those fire scars were 
made with the lash, and led a squad to the house one 
night to burn the barns. Jake headed them off and told 
on him. The soldiers were so mad they strung him up 



16 The Clansman 

and thrashed him nearly to death. We haven't seen him 
since." 

"Well, I'll take care of you, Mamma, when I get home. 
Of course I'll get well. It's absurd to die at nineteen. 
You know I never believed the bullet had been moulded 
that could hit me. In three years of battle I lived a 
charmed life and never got a scratch." 

His voice had grown feeble and laboured, and his face 
flushed. His mother placed her hand on his lips. 

"Just one more," he pleaded feebly. "Did you see the 
little angel who has been playing and singing for me? 
You must thank her." 

"Yes, I see her coming now. I must go and tell 
Margaret, and we will get a pass and come every day." 

She kissed him, and went to meet Elsie. 

"And you are the dear girl who has been playing and 
singing for my boy, a wounded stranger here alone among 
his foes? " 

"Yes, and for all the others, too." 

Mrs. Cameron seized both of her hands and looked at 
her tenderly. 

"You will let me kiss you? I shall always love you." 

She pressed Elsie to her heart. In spite of the girl's 
reserve, a sob caught her breath at the touch of the warm 
lips. Her own mother had died when she was a baby, 
and a shy, hungry heart, long hidden from the world, 
leaped in tenderness and pain to meet that embrace. 

Elsie walked with her to the door, wondering how the 
terrible truth of her boy's doom could be told. 

She tried to speak, looked into Mrs. Cameron's face, 



The Bruised Reed 17 

radiant with grateful joy, and the words froze on her lips. 
She decided to walk a little way with her. But the task 
became all the harder. 

At the corner she stopped abruptly and bade her good- 
bye: 

"I must leave you now, Mrs. Cameron. I will call for 
you in the morning and help you secure the passes to 
enter the hospital." 

The mother stroked the girl's hand and held it linger- 
ingly. 

"How good you are," she said softly. "And you 
have not told me your name? " 

Elsie hesitated and said: 

"That's a little secret. They call me Sister Elsie, the 
Banjo Maid, in the hospitals. My father is a man of 
distinction. I should be annoyed if my full name were 
known. I'm Elsie Stoneman. My father is the leader 
of the House. I live with my aunt." 

"Thank you," she whispered, pressing her hand. 

Elsie watched the dark figure disappear in the crowd 
with a strange tumult of feeling. 

The mention of her father had revived the suspicion 
that he was the mysterious power threatening the policy 
of the President and planning a reign of terror for the 
South. Next to the President, he was the most powerful 
man in Washington, and the unrelenting foe of Mr. 
Lincoln, although the leader of his party in Congress, 
which he ruled with a rod of iron. He was a man of 
fierce and terrible resentments. And yet, in his personal 
life, to those he knew, he was generous and considerate. 



18 The Clansman 

"Old Austin Stoneman, the Great Commoner," he was 
called, and his name was one to conjure with in the world 
of deeds. To this fair girl he was the noblest Roman of 
them all, her ideal of greatness. He was an indulgent 
father, and while not demonstrative, loved his children 
with passionate devotion. 

She paused and looked up at the huge marble columns 
that seemed each a sentinel beckoning her to return 
within to the cot that held a wounded foe. The twilight 
had deepened, and the soft light of the rising moon had 
clothed the solemn majesty of the building with shimmer- 
ing tenderness and beauty. 

"Why should I be distressed for one, an enemy, among 
these thousands who have fallen?" she asked herself. 
Every detail of the scene she had passed through with 
him and his mother stood out in her soul with startling 
distinctness— and the horror of his doom cut with the 
deep sense of personal anguish. 

"He shall not die," she said, with sudden resolution. 
"I'll take his mother to the President. He can't resist 
her. I'll send for Phil to help me." 

She hurried to the telegraph office and summoned her 
brother. 



CHAPTER n 

The Great Heart 

THE next morning, when Elsie reached the 
obscure boarding-house at which Mrs. Cameron 
stopped, the mother had gone to the market to 
buy a bunch of roses to place beside her boy's cot. 

As Elsie awaited her return, the practical little Yankee 
maid thought with a pang of the tenderness and folly of 
such people. She knew this mother had scarcely enough 
to eat, but to her bread was of small importance, flowers 
necessary to life. After all, it was very sweet, this foolish- 
ness of these Southern people, and it somehow made her 
homesick. 

"How can I tell her!" she sighed. "And yet_I 
must." 

She had only waited a moment when Mrs. Cameron 
suddenly entered with her daughter. She threw her 
flowers on the table, sprang forward to meet Elsie, seized 
her hands and called to Margaret. 

"How good of you to come so soon! This, Margaret, 
is our dear little friend who has been so good to Ben and 
to me." 

Margaret took Elsie's hand and longed to throw her 
arms around her neck, but something in the quiet dignity 
of the Northern girl's manner held her back. She only 
19 



20 The Clansman 

smiled tenderly through her big dark eyes, and softly 
said: 

"We love you! Ben was my last brother. We were 
playmates and chums. My heart broke when he ran 
away to the front. How can we thank you and your 
brother!" 

"I'm sure we've done nothing more than you would 
have done for us," said Elsie, as Mrs. Cameron left the 
room. 

"Yes, I know, but we can never tell you how grateful 
we are to you. We feel that you have saved Ben's life 
and ours. The war has been one long horror to us since 
my first brother was killed. But now it's over, and we 
have Ben left, and our hearts have been crying for joy 
all night." 

"I hoped my brother, Captain Phil Stoneman, would 
be here to-day to meet you and help me, but he can't 
reach Washington before Friday." 

"He caught Ben in his arms!" cried Margaret. "I 
know he's brave, and you must be proud of him." 

"Doctor Barnes says they are as much alike as twins — 
only Phil is not quite so tall and has blond hair like mine." 

"You will let me see him and thank him the moment 
he comes?" 

"Hurry, Margaret!" cheerily cried Mrs. Cameron, 
reentering the parlour. "Get ready; we must go at 
once to the hospital." 

Margaret turned and with stately grace hurried from 
the room. The old dress she wore as unconscious of its 
shabbiness as though it were a royal robe. 



The Great Heart 21 

"And now, my dear, what must I do to get the 
passes?" asked the mother eagerly. 

Elsie's warm amber eyes grew misty for a moment, and 
the fair skin with its gorgeous rose tints of the North 
paled. She hesitated, tried to speak, and was silent. 

The sensitive soul of the Southern woman read the 
message of sorrow words had not framed. 

"Tell me, quickly ! The doctor — has — not — concealed 
— his — true — condition — from — me? " 

"No, he is certain to recover." 

"What then?" 

"Worse — he is condemned to death by court-martial." 

"Condemned to death — a — wounded — prisoner — of — 
war! " she whispered slowly, with blanched face. 

"Yes, he was accused of violating the rules of war as a 
guerilla raider in the invasion of Pennsylvania." 

"Absurd and monstrous! He was on General Jeb 
Stuart's staff and could have acted only under his orders. 
He joined the infantry after Stuart's death, and rose to be 
a colonel, though but a boy. There's some terrible 
mistake!" 

"Unless we can obtain his pardon," Elsie went on in 
even, restrained tones, "there is no hope. We must 
appeal to the President." 

The mother's lips trembled, and she seemed about to 
faint. 

"Could I see the President?" she asked, recovering 
herself with an effort. 

"He has just reached Washington from the front, and is 
thronged by thousands. It will be difficult." 



22 The Clansman 

The mother's lips were moving in silent prayer, and her 
eyes were tightly closed to keep back the tears. 

" Can you help me, dear? " she asked piteously. 

"Yes," was the quick response. 

"You see," she went on, "I feel so helpless. I have 
never been to the White House or seen the President, and 
I don't know how to go about seeing him or how to ask 
him — and — I am afraid of Mr. Lincoln! I have heard so 
many harsh things said of him." 

"I'll do my best, Mrs. Cameron. We must go at once 
to the White House and try to see him." 

The mother lifted the girl's hand and stroked it gently. 

"We will not tell Margaret. Poor child! she could 
not endure this. When we return, we may have 
better news. It can't be worse. I'll send her on an 
errand." 

She took up the bouquet of gorgeous roses with a sigh, 
buried her face in the fresh perfume, as if to gain strength 
in their beauty and fragrance, and left the room. 

In a few moments she had returned and was on her way 
with Elsie to the White House. 

It was a beautiful spring morning, this eleventh day of 
April, 1865. The glorious sunshine, the shimmering 
green of the grass, the warm breezes, and the shouts of 
victory mocked the mother's anguish. 

At the White House gates they passed the blue sentry 
pacing silently back and forth, who merely glanced at 
them with keen eyes and said nothing. In the steady 
beat of his feet the mother could hear the tramp of soldiers 
leading her boy to the place of death! 



The Great Heart 23 

A great lump rose in her throat as she caught the first 
view of the Executive Mansion gleaming white and silent 
and ghostlike among the budding trees. The tall col- 
umns of the great facade, spotless as snow, the spray of 
the fountain, the marble walls, pure, dazzling, and cold, 
seemed to her the gateway to some great tomb in which 
her own dead and the dead of all the people lay! To 
her the fair white palace, basking there in the sunlight 
and budding grass, shrub, and tree, was the Judgment 
House of Fate. She thought of all the weary feet that 
had climbed its fateful steps in hope to return in despair, 
of its fierce dramas on which the lives of millions had 
hung, and her heart grew sick. 

A long line of people already stretched from the en- 
trance under the portico far out across the park, awaiting 
their turn to see the President. 

Mrs. Cameron placed her hand falteringly on Elsie's 
shoulder. 

"Look, my dear, what a crowd already! Must we 
wait in fine? " 

"No, I can get you past the throng with my father's 
name." 

"Will it be very difficult to reach the President?" 

"No, it's very easy. Guards and sentinels annoy 
him. He frets until they are removed. An assassin or 
maniac could kill him almost any hour of the day or 
night. The doors are open at all hours, very late at 
night. I have often walked up to the rooms of his 
secretaries as late as nine o'clock without being challenged 
by a soul." 



24 The Clansman 

"What must I call him? Must I say 'Your Excel- 
lency?'" 

" By no means — he hates titles and forms. You should 
say 'Mr. President' in addressing him. But you will 
please him best if, in your sweet, homelike way, you will 
just call him by his name. You can rely on his sympathy. 
Read this letter of his to a widow. I brought it to show 
you." 

She handed Mrs. Cameron a newspaper clipping on 
which was printed Mr. Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby, of 
Boston, who had lost five sons in the war. 

Over and over she read its sentences until they echoed 
as solemn music in her soul: 

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine 
which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so 
overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the 
consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic 
they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may 
assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only 
the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn 
pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon 
the altar of freedom. 

"Yours very sincerely and respectfully, 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

"And the President paused amid a thousand cares to 
write that letter to a broken-hearted woman? " the mother 
asked. 

"Yes." 

"Then he is good down to the last secret depths of a 
great heart! Only a Christian father could have written 



The Great Heart 25 

that letter. I shall not be afraid to speak to him. And 
they told me he was an infidel! " 

Elsie led her by a private way past the crowd and 
into the office of Major Hay, the President's private 
secretary. A word from the Great Commoner's daughter 
admitted them at once to the President's room. 

"Just take a seat on one side, Miss Elsie," said Major 
Hay; "watch your first opportunity and introduce your 
friend." 

On entering the room, Mrs. Cameron could not see the 
President, who was seated at his desk surrounded by three 
men in deep consultation over a mass of official documents. 

She looked about the room nervously and felt reassured 
by its plain aspect. It was a medium-sized, officelike 
place, with no signs of elegance or ceremony. Mr. Lincoln 
was seated in an armchair beside a high writing-desk and 
table combined. She noticed that his feet were large and 
that they rested on a piece of simple straw matting. 
Around the room were sofas and chairs covered with 
green worsted. 

When the group about the chair parted a moment, she 
caught the first glimpse of the man who held her life in 
the hollow of his hand. She studied him with breathless 
interest. His back was still turned. Even while seated, 
she saw that he was a man of enormous stature, fully six 
feet four inches tall, legs and arms abnormally long, and 
huge broad shoulders slightly stooped. His head was 
powerful and crowned with a mass of heavy brown hair, 
tinged with silver. 

He turned his head slightly and she saw his profile set 



26 The Clansman'^ 

in its short dark beard — the broad intellectual brow, half 
covered by unmanageable hair, his face marked with 
deep-cut lines of life and death, with great hollows in the 
cheeks and under the eyes. In the lines which marked 
the corners of his mouth she could see firmness, and his 
beetling brows and unusually heavy eyelids looked stern 
and formidable. Her heart sank. She looked again and 
saw goodness, tenderness, sorrow, canny shrewdness, and 
a strange lurking smile all haunting his mouth and eye. 

Suddenly he threw himself forward in his chair, wheeled 
and faced one of his tormentors with a curious and com- 
ical expression. With one hand patting the other, and a 
funny look overspreading his face, he said: 

"My friend, let me tell you something " 

J The man again stepped before him, and she could hear 
nothing. When the story was finished, the man tried to 
laugh. It died in a feeble effort. But the President 
laughed heartily, laughed all over, and laughed his vis- 
itors out of the room. 

Mrs. Cameron turned toward Elsie with a mute look of 
appeal to give her this moment of good-humour in which 
to plead her cause, but before she could move a man of 
military bearing suddenly stepped before the President. 

He began to speak, but seeing the look of stern deci- 
sion in Mr. Lincoln's face, turned abruptly and said: 

"Mr. President, I see you are fully determined not to 
do me justice!" 

Mr. Lincoln slightly compressed his lips, rose quietly, 
seized the intruder by the arm, and led him toward the 
door. 



The Great JHeart 27 

"This is the third time you have forced your presence 
on me, sir, asking that I reverse the just sentence of a 
court-martial, dismissing you from the service. I told 
you my decision was carefully made and was final. Now 
I give you fair warning never to show yourself in this room 
again. I can bear censure, but I will not endure insult! " 

In whining tones the man begged for his papers he had 
dropped. 

"Begone, sir," said the President, as he thrust him 
through the door. "Your papers will be sent to you." 

The poor mother trembled at this startling act and 
sank back limp in her seat. 

With quick, swinging stride the President walked back 
to his desk, accompanied by Major Hay and a young 
German girl, whose simple dress told that she was from 
the Western plains. 

He handed the secretary an official paper. 

" Give this pardon to the boy's mother when she comes 
this morning," he said kindly to the secretary, his eyes 
suddenly full of gentleness. 

"How could I consent to shoot a boy raised on a farm, 
in the habit of going to bed at dark, for falling asleep at his 
post when required to watch all night? I'll never go into 
eternity with the blood of such a boy on my skirts." 

Again the mother's heart rose. 

"You remember the young man I pardoned for a 
similar offence in '62, about which Stanton made such a 
fuss?" he went on in softly reminiscent tones. "Well, 
here is that pardon." 

He drew from the lining of his silk hat a photograph, 



28 The Clansman 

around which was wrapped an executive pardon. Through 
the lower end of it was a bullet-hole stained with blood. 

"I got this in Richmond. They found him dead on 
the field. He fell in the front ranks with my photograph 
in his pocket next to his heart, this pardon wrapped 
around it, and on the back of it in his boy's scrawl, 'God 
bless Abraham Lincoln.' I love to invest in bonds like 
that." 

The secretary returned to his room, the girl who was 
waiting stepped forward, and the President rose to receive 
her. 

The mother's quick eye noted, with surprise, the 
simple dignity and chivalry of manner with which he re- 
ceived this humble woman of the people. 

With straightforward eloquence the girl poured out 
her story, begging for the pardon of her young brother 
who had been sentenced to death as a deserter. He 
listened in silence. 

How pathetic the deep melancholy of his sad face! 
Yes, she was sure, the saddest face that God ever made in 
all the world! Her own stricken heart for a moment 
went out to him in sympathy. 

The President took off his spectacles, wiped his fore- 
head with the large red silk handkerchief he carried, and 
his eyes twinkled kindly down into the good German 
face. 

"You seem an honest, truthful, sweet girl," he said, 
"and" — he smiled — "you don't wear hoop skirts! I may 
be whipped for this, but I'll trust you and your brother, 
too. He shall be pardoned." 



The Great Heart 29 

Elsie rose to introduce Mrs. Cameron, when a Congress- 
man from Massachusetts suddenly stepped before her and 
pressed for the pardon of a slave trader whose ship had 
been confiscated. He had spent five years in prison, but 
could not pay the heavy fine in money imposed. 

The President had taken his seat again, and read the 
eloquent appeal for mercy. He looked up over his spec- 
tacles, fixed his eyes piercingly on the Congressman and 
said: 

"This is a moving appeal, sir, expressed with great 
eloquence. I might pardon a murderer under the spell 
of such words, but a man who can make a business of 
going to Africa and robbing her of her helpless children 
and selling them into bondage — no, sir — he may rot in 
jail before he shall have liberty by any act of mine!" 

Again the mother's heart sank. 

Her hour had come. She must put the issue of life 
or death to the test, and as Elsie rose and stepped quickly 
forward, she followed, nerving herself for the ordeal. 

The President took Elsie's hand familiarly and smiled 
without rising. Evidently she was well known to him. 

"Will you hear the prayer of a broken-hearted mother 
of the South, who has lost four sons in General Lee's 
army? " she asked. 

Looking quietly past the girl, he caught sight, for the 
first time, of the faded dress and the sorrow-shadowed face. 

He was on his feet in a moment, extended his hand and 
led her to a chair. 

"Take this seat, Madam, and then tell me in your own 
way what I can do for you." 



30 The Clansman 

In simple words, mighty with the eloquence of a 
mother's heart, she told her story and asked for the par- 
don of her boy, promising his word of honour and her own 
that he would never again take up arms against the 
Union. 

"The war is over now, Mr. Lincoln," she said, "and 
we have lost all. Can you conceive the desolation of my 
heart? My four boys were noble men. They may have 
been wrong, but they fought for what they believed to be 
right. You, too, have lost a boy." 

The President's eyes grew dim. 

"Yes, a beautiful boy " he said simply. 

"Well, mine are all gone but this baby. One of them 
sleeps in an unmarked grave at Gettysburg. One died 
in a Northern prison. One fell at Chancellorsville, one in 
the Wilderness, and this, my baby, before Petersburg. 
Perhaps I've loved him too much, this last one — he's 
only a child yet " 

"You shall have your boy, my dear Madam," the 
President said simply, seating himself and writing a brief 
order to the Secretary of War. 

The mother drew near his desk, softly crying. Through 
her tears she said: 

"My heart is heavy, Mr. Lincoln, when I think of all 
the hard and bitter things we have heard of you." 

"Well, give my love to the people of South Carolina 
when you go home, and tell them that I am their Presi- 
dent, and that I have never forgotten this fact in the 
darkest hours of this awful war; and I am going to do 
everything in my power to help them." 



{The Great Heart \ d 31 

"You"will never regret this generous act," the mother 
cried with gratitude. 

" I reckon not," he answered. "I'll tell you something, 
Madam, if you won't tell anybody. It's a secret of my 
administration. I'm only too glad of an excuse to save 
a life when I can. Every drop of blood shed in this war 
North and South has been as if it were wrung out of 
my heart. A strange fate decreed that the bloodiest war 
in human history should be fought under my direction. 
And I — to whom the sight of blood is a sickening horror — • 
I have been compelled to look on in silent anguish because 
I could not stop it! Now that the Union is saved, not 
another drop of blood shall be spilled if I can prevent it." j 

"May God bless you!" the mother cried, as she re- 
ceived from him the order. 

She held his hand an instant as she took her leave, 
laughing and sobbing in her great joy. w 

"I must tell you, Mr. President," she said, "how sur- 
prised and how pleased I am to find you are a Southern 
man." 

"Why, didn't you know that my parents were Virgin- 
ians, and that I was born in Kentucky?" 

"Very few people in the South know it. I am ashamed 
to say I did not." 

"Then, how did you know I am a Southerner?" 

"By your looks, your manner of speech, your easy, 
kindly ways, your tenderness and humour, your firmness 
in the right as you see it, and, above all, the way you rose 
and bowed to a woman in an old, faded black dress, whom 
you knew to be an enemy." 



32 The Clansman 

"No, Madam, not an enemy now," he said softly, 
"That word is out of date." 

"If we had only known you in time " 

The President accompanied her to the door with a 
deference of manner that showed he had been deeply 
touched. 

"Take this letter to Mr. Stanton at once," he said. 
"Some folks complain of my pardons, but it rests me 
after a hard day's work if I can save some poor boy's 
life. I go to bed happy, thinking of the joy I have given 
to those who love him." 

As the last words were spoken, a peculiar dreaminess 
of expression stole over his careworn face, as if a throng 
of gracious memories had lifted for a moment the burden 
of his life. 



CHAPTER III 

The Man of War 

ELSIE led Mrs. Cameron direct from the White 
House to the War Department. 
"Well, Mrs. Cameron, what did you think of 
the President? " she asked. 

"I hardly know," was the thoughtful answer. "He is 
the greatest man I ever met. One feels this instinctively." 

When Mrs. Cameron was ushered into the Secretary's 
Office, Mr. Stanton was seated at his desk writing. 

She handed the order of the President to a clerk, who 
gave it to the Secretary. 

He was a man in the full prime of life, intellectual and 
physical, low and heavy set, about five feet eight inches in 
height and inclined to fat. His movements, however, 
were quick, and as he swung in his chair the keenest 
vigour marked every movement of body and every change 
of his countenance. 

His face was swarthy and covered with a long, dark 
beard touched with gray. He turned a pair of little 
black piercing eyes on her and without rising said: 

"So you are the woman who has a wounded son under 
sentence of death as a guerilla? " 

"I am so unfortunate," she answered. 

"Well, I have nothing to say to you," he went on in 

33 



34 The Clansman 

a louder and sterner tone, "and no time to waste on you. 
If you have raised up men to rebel against the best 
government under the sun, you can take the conse- 
quences " 

"But, my dear sir," broke in the mother, "he is a mere 
boy of nineteen, who ran away three years ago and 
entered the service: " 

"I don't want to hear another word from you!" he 
yelled in rage. "I have no time to waste — go at once. 
I'll do nothing for you." 

"But I bring you an order from the President," pro- 
tested the mother. 

"Yes, I know it," he answered with a sneer, "and I'll 
do with it what I've done with many others — see that it is 
not executed — now go." 

"But the President told me you would give me a pass 
to the hospital, and that a full pardon would be issued to 
my boy!" 

"Yes, I see. But let me give you some information. 

The President is a fool — a d fool! Now, will you 

go?" 

With a sinking sense of horror, Mrs. Cameron withdrew 
and reported to'Elsie the unexpected encounter. 

"The brute!" cried the girl. "We'll go back im- 
mediately and report this insult to the President." 

"Why are such men intrusted with power?" the 
mother sighed. 

"It's a mystery to me, I'm sure. They say he is the 
greatest Secretary of War in our history. I don't believe 
it. Phil hates the sight of him, and so does every army 



The Man of War 35 

officer I know, from General Grant down. I hope Mr. 
Lincoln will expel him from the Cabinet for this insult." 

When they were again ushered into the President's 
office, Elsie hastened to inform him of the outrageous 
reply the Secretary of War had made to his order. 

"Did Stanton say that I was a fool?" he asked, with a 
quizzical look out of his kindly eyes. 

"Yes, he did," snapped Elsie. "And he repeated it 
with a blankety prefix." 

The President looked good-humouredly out of the 
window toward the War Office and musingly said: 

"Well, if Stanton says that I am a blankety fool, it 
must be so, for I have found out that he is nearly always 
right, and generally means what he says. I'll just step 
over and see Stanton." 

As he spoke the last sentence, the humour slowly faded 
from his face, and the anxious mother saw back of those 
patient gray eyes the sudden gleam of the courage and 
conscious power of a lion. 

He dismissed them with instructions to return the next 
day for his final orders and walked over to the War 
Department alone. 

The Secretary of War was in one of his ugliest moods, 
and made no effort to conceal it when asked his reasons 
for the refusal to execute the order. 

"The grounds for my action are very simple," he said 
with bitter emphasis. "The execution of this traitor is 
part of a carefully considered policy of justice on which 
the future security of the Nation depends. If I am to 
administer this office, I will not be hamstrung by con- 



36 The Clansman 

stant Executive interference. Besides, in this partic- 
ular case, I was urged that justice be promptly executed 
by the most powerful man in Congress. I advise you to 
avoid a quarrel with old Stoneman at this crisis in our 
history." 

The President sat on a sofa with his legs crossed, re- 
lapsed into an attitude of resignation, and listened in 
silence until the last sentence, when suddenly he sat bolt 
upright, fixed his deep gray eyes intently on Stanton and 
said: 

"Mr. Secretary, I reckon you will have to execute that 
order." 

"I cannot do it," came the firm answer. "It is an 
interference with justice, and I will not execute it." 

Mr. Lincoln held his eyes steadily on Stanton and 
slowly said: 

"Mr. Secretary, it will have to be done." 

Stanton wheeled in his chair, seized a pen and wrote 
very rapidly a few lines to which he fixed his signature. 
He rose with the paper in his hand, walked to his chief, 
and with deep emotion said: 

"Mr. President, I wish to thank you for your constant 
friendship during the trying years I have held this office. 
The war is ended, and my work is done. I hand you my 
resignation." 

Mr. Lincoln's lips came suddenly together, he slowly 
rose, and looked down with surprise into the flushed 
angry face. 

He took the paper, tore it into pieces, slipped one of hi£ 
long arms around the Secretary, and said in low accents: 



The Man of War 37 

11 Stanton, you have been a faithful public servant, and 
it is not for you to say when you will no longer be needed. 
Go on with your work. I will have my way in this matter; 
but I will attend to it personally." 

Stanton resumed his seat, and the President returned 
to the White House. 



CHAPTER IV 

A Clash of Giants 

ELSIE secured from the Surgeon-General tempo- 
rary passes for the day, and sent her friends to 
the hospital with the promise that she would not 
leave the White House until she had secured the pardon. 
) The President greeted her with unusual warmth. The 
smile that had only haunted his sad face during four years 
of struggle, defeat, and uncertainty had now burst into 
joy that made his powerful head radiate light. Victory 
had lifted the veil from his soul, and he was girding him- 
self for the task of healing the Nation's wounds. 

"I'll have it ready for you in a moment, Miss Elsie," he 
said, touching with his sinewy hand a paper which lay on 
his desk, bearing on its face the red seal of the Republic. 
"I am only waiting to receive the passes." 

"I am very grateful to you, Mr. President," the girl 
said feelingly. 

"But tell me," he said, with quaint, fatherly humour, 

"why you, of all our girls, the brightest, fiercest little 

Yankee in town, so take to heart a rebel boy's sorrows? " 

Elsie blushed, and then looked at him frankly with a 

saucy smile. 

"I am fulfilling the Commandments." 
"Love your enemies? " 

38 



A Clash of Giants 39 

"Certainly. How could one help loving the sweet, 
'motherly face you saw yesterday." 

The President laughed heartily. "I see — of course, of 
[course!" 

"The Honourable Austin Stoneman," suddenly an- 
nounced a clerk at his elbow. 

Elsie started in surprise and whispered: 

"Do not let my father know I am here. I will wait in 
jthe next room. You'll let nothing delay the pardon, will 
'you, Mr. President? " 

Mr. Lincoln warmly pressed her hand as she disap- 
peared through the door leading into Major Hay's room, 
and turned to meet the Great Commoner who hobbled 
slowly in, leaning on his crooked cane. 

At this moment he was a startling and portentous figure 
in the drama of the Nation, the most powerful parlia- 
mentary leader in American history, not excepting Henry 
[Clay. 

No stranger ever passed this man without a second 
look. His clean-shaven face, the massive chiselled fea- 
tures, his grim eagle look, and cold, colourless eyes, with 
the frosts of his native Vermont sparkling in their depths, 
; compelled attention. 

His walk was a painful hobble. He was lame in both 
feet, and one of them was deformed. The left leg ended 
in a mere bunch of flesh, resembling more closely an 
elephant's hoof than the foot of a man. 

He was absolutely bald, and wore a heavy brown wig 
( that seemed too small to reach the edge of his enormous 

forehead, 

i 



40 The Clansman 

He rarely visited the White House. He was the able, 
bold, unscrupulous leader of leaders, and men came to see 
him. He rarely smiled, and when he did it was the smile 
of the cynic and misanthrope. His tongue had the lash of 
a scorpion. He was a greater terror to the trimmers and 
time-servers of his own party than to his political foes. He 
had hated the President with sullen, consistent, and un- 
yielding venom from his first nomination at Chicago down 
to the last rumour of his new proclamation. 

In temperament a fanatic, in impulse a born revolu- 
tionist, the word conservatism was to him as a red rag to 
a bull. The first clash of arms was music to his soul. He 
laughed at the call for 75,000 volunteers, and demanded 
the immediate equipment of an army of a million men. 
He saw it grow to 2,000,000. From the first, his eagle 
eye had seen the end and all the long, blood-marked way 
between. And from the first, he began to plot the most 
cruel and awful vengeance in human history. 

And now his time had come. 

The giant figure in the White House alone had dared to 
brook his anger and block the way; for old Stoneman 
was the Congress of the United States. The opposition 
was too weak even for his contempt. Cool, deliberate, and 
venomous alike in victory or defeat, the fascination of his 
positive faith and revolutionary programme had drawn 
the rank and file of his party in Congress to him as 
charmed satellites. 

The President greeted him cordially, and with his 
habitual deference to age and physical infirmity hastened 
to place for him an easy chair near his desk. 



A Clash of Giants 41 

He was breathing heavily and evidently labouring 
under great emotion. He brought his cane to the floor 
with violence, placed both hands on its crook, leaned 
his massive jaws on his hands for a moment, and then 
said: 

"Mr. President, I have not annoyed you with many re- 
quests during the past four years, nor am I here to-day 
to ask any favours. I have come to warn you that, in the 
course you have mapped out, the executive and legisla- 
tive branches have come to the parting of the ways, and 
that your encroachments on the functions of Congress 
will be tolerated, now that the Rebellion is crushed, not 
for a single moment!" 

Mr. Lincoln listened with dignity, and a ripple of fun 
played about his eyes as he looked at his grim visitor. 
The two men were face to face at last — the two men 
above all others who had built and were to build the 
foundations of the New Nation — Lincoln's in love and 
wisdom to endure forever, the Great Commoner's in hate 
and madness, to bear its harvest of tragedy and death 
for generations yet unborn. 

"Well, now, Stoneman," began the good-humoured 
voice, "that puts me in mind " 

The old Commoner lifted his hand with a gesture of 
angry impatience: 

"Save your fables for fools. Is it true that you have 
prepared a proclamation restoring the conquered prov- 
ince of North Carolina to its place as a State in the Union 
with no provision for negro suffrage or the exile and dis- 
franchisement of its rebels?" 



42 , The Clansman 

The President rose and walked back and forth with 
his hands folded behind him before answering. 

"I have. The Constitution grants to the National 
Government no power to regulate suffrage, and makes no 
provision for the control of 'conquered provinces.' " 

"Constitution!" thundered Stoneman. "I have a 
hundred constitutions in the pigeonholes of my desk!" 

"I have sworn to support but one." 

"A worn-out rag " 

"Rag or silk, I've sworn to execute it, and I'll do it, so 
help me God!" said the quiet voice. 

"You've been doing it for the past four years, haven't 
you!" sneered the Commoner. "What right had you 
under the Constitution to declare war against a 'sover- 
eign' State? To invade one for coercion? To blockade a 
port? To declare slaves free? To suspend the writ of 
habeas corpus ? To create the State of West Virginia by 
the consent of two states, one of which was dead, and the 
other one of which lived in Ohio? By what authority 
have you appointed military governors in the 'sovereign' 
States of Virginia, Tennessee, and Louisiana? Why 
trim the hedge and lie about it? We, too, are revolu- 
tionists, and you are our executive. The Constitution 
sustained and protected slavery. It was 'a league with 
death and a covenant with hell,' and our flag 'a polluted 
rag!'" 

"In the stress of war," said the President, with a far- 
away look, "it was necessary that I do things as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy to save the Union 
which I have no right to do now that the Union is saved 



A Clash of Giants 43 

and its Constitution preserved. My first duty is to re- 
establish the Constitution as our supreme law over every 
inch of our soil." 

"The Constitution be d d!" hissed the old man. 

"It was the creation, both in letter and spirit, of the 
slaveholders of the South." 

"Then the world is their debtor, and their work is a 
monument of imperishable glory to them and to their 
children. I have sworn to preserve it!" 

"We have outgrown the swaddling clothes of a babe. 
We will make new constitutions!" 

"'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread/" softly 
spoke the tall, self-contained man. 

For the first time the old leader winced. He had long 
ago exhausted the vocabulary of contempt on the Presi- 
dent, his character, ability, and policy. He felt as a 
shock the first impression of supreme authority with 
which he spoke. The man he had despised had grown 
into the great constructive statesman who would dispute 
with him every inch of ground in the attainment of his 
sinister life purpose. 

His hatred grew more intense as he realized the pres- 
tige and power with which he was clothed by his mighty 
office. 

With an effort he restrained his anger, and assumed an 
argumentative tone. 

"Can't you see that your so-called States are now but 
conquered provinces? That North Carolina and other 
waste territories of the United States are unfit to associ- 
ate with civilized communities? " 



44 The Clansman 

"We fought no war of conquest," quietly urged the 
President, "but one of self-preservation as an indissoluble 
Union. No State ever got out of it, by the grace of God 
and the power of our arms. Now that we have won, 
and established for all time its unity, shall we stultify 
ourselves by declaring we were wrong? These States 
must be immediately restored to their rights, or we shall 
betray the blood we have shed. There are no 'con- 
quered provinces' for us to spoil. A nation cannot make 
conquest of its own territory." 

"But we are acting outside the Constitution," inter- 
rupted Stoneman. 

"Congress has no existence outside the Constitution," 
was the quick answer. 

The old Commoner scowled, and his beetling brows 
hid for a moment his eyes. His keen intellect was catch- 
ing its first glimpse of the intellectual grandeur of the man 
with whom he was grappling. The facility with which 
he could see all sides of a question, and the vivid imagi- 
nation which lit his mental processes, were a revelation. 
We always underestimate the men we despise. 

"Why not out with it?" cried Stoneman, suddenly 
changing his tack. "You are determined to oppose 
negro suffrage?" 

"I have suggested to Governor Hahn of Louisiana to 
consider the policy of admitting the more intelligent and 
those who served in the war. It is only a suggestion. 
The State alone has the power to confer the ballot." 

"But the truth is this little ' suggestion ' of yours is only 
a bone thrown to radical dogs to satisfy our howlings for 



A Clash of Giants 45 

the moment! In your soul of souls you don't believe in 
the equality of man if the man under comparison be a 
negro?" 

"I believe that there is a physical difference between 
the white and black races which will forever forbid their 
living together on terms of political and social equality. 
If such be attempted, one must go to the wall." 

"Very well, pin the Southern white man to the wall. 
Our party and the Nation will then be safe." 

"That is to say, destroy African slavery and establish 
white slavery under negro masters! That would be 
progress with a vengeance." 

A grim smile twitched the old man's lips as he said: 

"Yes, your prim conservative snobs and male waiting- 
maids in Congress went into hysterics when I armed the 
negroes. Yet the heavens have not fallen." 

"True. Yet no more insane blunder could now be 
made than any further attempt to use these negro 
troops. There can be no such thing as restoring this 
Union to its basis of fraternal peace with armed negroes, 
wearing the uniform of this Nation, tramping over the 
South, and rousing the basest passions of the freedmen 
and their former masters. General Butler, their old 
commander, is now making plans for their removal, at 
my request. He expects to dig the Panama Canal with 
these black troops." 

"Fine scheme that — on a par with your messages to 
Congress asking for the colonization of the whole negro 
race!" 

"It will come to that ultimately," said the President 



46 The Clansman 

firmly. "The negro has cost us $5,000,000,000, the deso- 
lation of ten great States, and rivers of blood. We can 
well afford a few million dollars more to effect a perma- 
nent settlement of the issue. This is the only policy on 
which Seward and I have differed " 

"Then Seward was not an utterly hopeless fool. I'm 
glad to hear something to his credit/' growled the old 
Commoner. 

"I have urged the colonization of the negroes, and I 
shall continue until it is accomplished. My emancipa- 
tion proclamation was linked with this plan. Thousands 
of them have lived in the North for a hundred years, yet 
not one is the pastor of a white church, a judge, a gover- 
nor, a mayor, or a college president. There is no room for 
two distinct races of white men in America, much less for 
two distinct races of whites and blacks. We can have no in- 
ferior servile class, peon or peasant. We must assimilate 
or expel. The American is a citizen king or nothing. I 
can conceive of no greater calamity than the assimilation 
of the negro into our social and political life as our equal. 
A mulatto citizenship would be too dear a price to pay 
even for emancipation." 

"Words have no power to express my loathing for such 
twaddle!" cried Stoneman, snapping his great jaws to- 
gether and pursing his lips with contempt. 

"If the negro were not here would we allow him to 
land?" the President went on, as if talking to him- 
self. "The duty to exclude carries the right to expel. 
Within twenty years we can peacefully colonize the 
negro in the tropics, and give him our language, liter- 



A Clash of Giants 47 

ature, religion, and system of government under condi- 
tions in which he can rise to the full measure of manhood. 
This he can never do here. It was the fear of the black 
tragedy behind emancipation that led the South into the 
insanity of secession. We can never attain the ideal 
Union our fathers dreamed, with millions of an alien, in- 
ferior race among us, whose assimilation is neither possi- 
ble nor desirable. The Nation cannot now exist half 
white and half black, any more than it could exist half 
slave and half free." 

"Yet ' God hath made of one blood all races,'" quoted 
the cynic with a sneer. 

"Yes — but finish the sentence — 'and fixed the bounds 
of their habitation.' God never meant that the negro 
should leave his habitat or the white man invade his 
home. Our violation of this law is written in two cen- 
turies of shame and blood. And the tragedy will not be 
closed until the black man is restored to his home." 

"I marvel that the minions of slavery elected Jeff 
Davis their chief with so much better material at hand!" 

"His election was a tragic and superfluous blunder. I 
am the President of the United States, North and South," 
was the firm reply. ' 

"Particularly the South!" hissed Stoneman. "During 
all this hideous war they have been your pets — these 
rebel savages who have been murdering our sons. You 
have been the ever-ready champion of traitors. And you 
now dare to 'bend this high office to their defence " 

"My God, Stoneman, are you a man or a savage!" 
cried the President. "Is not the North equally respon- 



48 The Clansman 

sible for slavery? Has not the South lost all? Have 
not the Southern people paid the full penalty of all the 
crimes of war? Are our skirts free? Was Sherman's 
march a picnic? This war has been a giant conflict of 
principles to decide whether we are a bundle of petty 
sovereignties held by a rope of sand or a mighty nation of 
freemen. But for the loyalty of four border Southern 
States — but for Farragut and Thomas and their two 
hundred thousand heroic Southern brethren who fought 
for the Union against their own flesh and blood, we should 
have lost. You cannot indict a people " 

"I do indict them!" muttered the old man. 

"Surely," went on the even, throbbing voice, "surely, 
the vastness of this war, its titanic battles, its heroism, 
its sublime earnestness, should sink into oblivion all low 
schemes of vengeance! Before the sheer grandeur of its 
history our children will walk with silent lips and uncov- 
ered heads." 

"And forget the prison pen at Andersonville!" 

"Yes. We refused, as a policy of war, to exchange 
those prisoners, blockaded their ports, made medicine 
contraband, and brought the Southern Army itself to 
starvation. The prison records, when made at last for 
history, will show as many deaths on our side as on theirs." 

"The murderer on the gallows always wins more sym- 
pathy than his forgotten victim," interrupted the cynic. 

"The sin of vengeance is an easy one under the subtle 
plea of justice," said the sorrowful voice. "Have we not 
had enough bloodshed? Is not God's vengeance enough? 
When Sherman's army swept to the sea, before him lay 



A Clash of Giants 49 

the Garden of Eden, behind him stretched a desert ! A 
hundred years cannot give back to the wasted South her 
wealth, or two hundred years restore to her the lost seed 
treasures of her young manhood " 

"The imbecility of a policy of mercy in this crisis can 
only mean the reign of treason and violence," persisted 
the old man, ignoring the President's words. 

"I leave my policy before the judgment bar of time, 
content with its verdict. In my place, radicalism would 
have driven the border States into the Confederacy, every 
Southern man back to his kinsmen, and divided the North 
itself into civil conflict. I have sought to guide and con- 
trol public opinion into the ways on which depended our 
life. This rational flexibility of policy you and your 
fellow radicals have been pleased to call my vacillating 
imbecility." 

"And what is your message for the South? " 

"Simply this: 'Abolish slavery, come back home, and 
behave yourself.' Lee surrendered to our offers of peace 
and amnesty. In my last message to Congress I told the 
Southern people they could have peace at any moment 
by simply laying down their arms and submitting to 
National authority. Now that they have taken me at 
my word, shall I betray them by an ignoble revenge? 
Vengeance cannot heal and purify: it can only brutalize 
and destroy." 

Stoneman shuffled to his feet with impatience. 

"I see it is useless to argue with you. I'll not waste 
my breath. I give you an ultimatum. The South is 
conquered soil. I mean to blot it from the map. Rather 



50 The Clansman 

than admit one traitor to the halls of Congress from these 
so-called States I will shatter the Union itself into ten 
thousand fragments! I will not sit beside men whose 
clothes smell of the blood of my kindred. At least dry 
them before they come in. Four years ago, with yells and 
curses, these traitors left the halls of Congress to join the 
armies of Catiline. Shall they return to rule? " 

"I repeat," said the President, "you cannot indict a 
people. Treason is an easy word to speak. A traitor is 
one who fights and loses. Washington was a traitor to 
George III. Treason won, and Washington is immortal. 
Treason is a word that victors hurl at those who fail." 

"Listen to me," Stoneman interrupted with vehemence. 
"The life of our party demands that the negro be g"ven 
the ballot and made the ruler of the South. This can be 
done only by the extermination of its landed aristoc- 
racy, that their mothers shall not breed another race of 
traitors. This is not vengeance. It is justice, it is pa- 
triotism, it is the highest wisdom and humanity. Nature, 
at times, blots out whole communities and races that 
obstruct progress. Such is the political genius of these 
people that, unless you make the negro the ruler, the 
South will yet reconquer the North and undo the work of 
this war." 

"If the South in poverty and ruin can do this, we de- 
serve to be ruled ! The North is rich and powerful — the 
South a land of wreck and tomb. I greet with wonder, 
shame, and scorn such ignoble fear! The Nation cannot 
be healed until the South is healed. Let the gulf be 
closed in which we bury slavery, sectional animosity, and 



A Clash of Giants ] 5K 

all strifes and hatreds. The good sense of our people will 
never consent to your scheme of insane vengeance." 

"The people have no sense. A new fool is born every 
second. They are ruled by impulse and passion." 

"I have trusted them before, and they have not failed 
me. The day I left for Gettysburg to dedicate the battle- 
field, you were so sure of my defeat in the approaching 
convention that you shouted across the street to a friend 
as I passed : ' Let the dead bury the dead ! ' It was a bril- 
liant sally of wit. I laughed at it myself. And yet the 
people unanimously called me again to lead them to 
victory." 

"Yes, in the past," said Stoneman bitterly, "you have 
triumphed, but mark my word: from this hour your star 
grows dim. The slumbering fires of passion will be 
kindled. In the fight we join to-day I'll break your back 
and wring the neck of every dastard and time-server who 
fawns at your feet." 

The President broke into a laugh that only increased 
the old man's wrath. 

"I protest against the insult of your buffoonery! " 

"Excuse me, Stoneman; I have to laugh or die beneath 
the burdens I bear, surrounded by such supporters!" 

"Mark my word," growled the old leader, "from the 
moment you publish that North Carolina proclamation, 
your name will be a by-word in Congress." 

"There are higher powers." 

"You will need them." 

"I'll have help," was the calm reply, as the dreaminess 
of the poet and mystic stole over the rugged face. "I 



52 ;The Clansman 

would be a presumptuous fool, indeed, if I thought that 
for a day I could discharge the duties of this great office 
without the aid of One who is wiser and stronger than all 
others." 

"You'll need the help of Almighty God in the course 
you've mapped out!" 

"Some ships come into port that are not steered," went 
on the dreamy voice. "Suppose Pickett had charged 
one hour earlier at Gettysburg? Suppose the Monitor 
had arrived one hour later at Hampton Roads? I had 
a dream last night that always presages great events. 
I saw a white ship passing swiftly under full sail. I have 
often seen her before. I have never known her port of 
entry, or her destination, but I have always known her 
Pilot!" 

The cynic's lips curled with scorn. He leaned heavily 
on his cane, and took a shambling step toward the door. 

"You refuse to heed the wishes of Congress? " 

"If your words voice them, yes. Force your scheme 
of revenge on the South, and you sow the wind to reap the 
whirlwind." 

"Indeed! and from what secret cave will this whirl- 
wind come? " 

"The despair of a mighty race of world-conquering 
men, even in defeat, is still a force that statesmen reckon 
with." 

"I defy them," growled the old Commoner. 

Again the dreamy look returned to Lincoln's face, and 
he spoke as if repeating a message of the soul caught in the 
clouds in an hour of transfiguration: 



A Clash of Giants 53 

"And I'll trust the honour of Lee and his people. The 
mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle- 
field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth- 
stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of 
theUnion, when touched again, as they surely will be, by 
the better angels of our nature. ' ' 

"You'll be lucky to live to hear that chorus." 

"To dream it is enough. If I fall by the hand of an 
assassin now, he will not come from the South. I was 
safer in Richmond, this week, than I am in Washington, 
to-day." 

The cynic grunted and shuffled another step toward the 
door. 

The President came closer. 

"Look here, Stoneman; have you some deep personal 
motive in this vengeance on the South? Come, now, 
I've never in my life known you to tell a lie." 

The answer was silence and a scowl. 

"Am I right? " 

"Yes and no. I hate the South because I hate the 
Satanic Institution of Slavery with consuming fury. It 
has long ago rotted the heart out of the Southern people. 
Humanity cannot live in its tainted air, and its children 
are doomed. If my personal wrongs have ordained me 
for a mighty task, no matter; I am simply the chosen 
instrument of Justice ! " 

Again the mystic light clothed the rugged face, calm 
and patient as Destiny, as the President slowly repeated: 

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with 
firmness in the right, as God gives me to see the right, I 



54 The Clansman 

shall strive to finish the work we are in, and bind up the 
Nation's wounds." 

"I've given you fair warning," cried the old Commoner, 
trembling with rage, as he hobbled nearer the door. 
"From this hour your administration is doomed." 

"Stoneman," said the kindly voice, "I can't tell you 
how your venomous philanthropy sickens me. You have 
misunderstood and abused me at every step during the 
past four years. I bear you no ill will. If I have said 
anything to-day to hurt your feelings, forgive me. The 
earnestness with which you pressed the war was an in- 
valuable service to me and to the Nation. I'd rather 
work with you than fight you. But now that we have 
to fight, I'd as well tell you I'm not afraid of you. I'll 
suffer my right arm to be severed from my body before 
I'll sign one measure of ignoble revenge on a brave, fallen 
foe, "and I'll keep up this fight until I win, die, or my 
country forsakes me." 

"I have always known you had a sneaking admiration 
for the South," came the sullen sneer. 

"I love the South! It is a part of this Union. I love 
every foot of its soil, every hill and valley, mountain, lake, 
and sea, and every man, woman, and child that breathes 
beneath its skies. I am an American." 

As the burning words leaped from the heart of the 
President the broad shoulders of his tall form lifted, and 
his massive head rose in unconscious heroic pose. 

"I marvel that you ever made war upon your loved 
ones!" cried the cynic. 

"We fought the South because we loved her and would 



A Clash of Giants 55 

not let her go. Now that she is crushed and lies bleeding 
at our feet — you shall not make war on the wounded, the 
dying, and the dead!" 
Again the lion gleamed in the calm gray eyes. 



CHAPTER IV 
The Battle of Love 

ELSIE carried Ben Cameron's pardon to the anxious 
mother and sister with her mind in a tumult. 
The name on these fateful papers fascinated her. 
She read it again and again with a curious personal joy- 
that she had saved a life! 

She had entered on her work among the hospitals a 
bitter partisan of her father's school, with the simple 
idea that all Southerners were savage brutes. Yet as she 
had seen the wounded boys from the South among the 
men in blue, more and more she had forgotten the differ- 
ence between them. They were so young, these slender, 
dark-haired ones from Dixie — so pitifully young! Some 
of them were only fifteen, and hundreds not over sixteen. 
A lad of fourteen she had kissed one day in sheer agony 
of pity for his loneliness. 

The part her father was playing in the drama on which 
Ben Cameron's life had hung puzzled her. Was his the 
mysterious arm back of Stanton? Echoes of the fierce 
struggle with the President had floated through the half- 
open door. 

She had implicit faith in her father's patriotism and 
pride in his giant intellect. She knew that he was a king 
among men by divine right of inherent power. His sen- 
se 



The Battle of Love 57 

sitive spirit, brooding over a pitiful lameness, had hidden 
from the world behind a frowning brow like a wounded 
animal. Yet her hand in hours of love, when no eye save 
God's could see, had led his great soul out of its dark 
lair. She loved him with brooding tenderness, knowing 
that she had gotten closer to his inner life than any 
other human being — closer than her own mother, who 
had died while she was a babe. Her aunt, with whom she 
and Phil now lived, had told her the mother's life was not 
a happy one. Their natures had not proved congenial, 
and her gentle Quaker spirit had died of grief in the quiet 
home in southern Pennsylvania. 

Yet there were times when he was a stranger even to 
her. Some secret, dark and cold, stood between them. 
Once she had tenderly asked him what it meant. He 
merely pressed her hand, smiled wearily, and said: 

"Nothing, my dear, only the Blue Devils after me 
again." 

He had always lived in Washington in a little house 
with black shutters, near the Capitol, while the children 
had lived with his sister, near the White House, where 
they had grown from babyhood. 

A curious fact about this place on the Capitol hill 
was that his housekeeper, Lydia Brown, was a mu- 
latto, a woman of extraordinary animal beauty and the 
fiery temper of a leopardess. Elsie had ventured there 
once and got such a welcome she would never return. 
All sorts of gossip could be heard in Washington about 
this woman, her jewels, her-dresses, her airs, her assump- 
tion of the dignity of the presiding genius of National 



58 The Clansman 

legislation and her domination of the old Commoner and 
his life. It gradually crept into the newspapers and mag- 
azines, but he never once condescended to notice it. 

Elsie begged her father to close this house and live with 
them. 

His reply was short and emphatic: 

"Impossible, my child. This club foot must live next 
door to the Capitol. My house is simply an executive 
office at which I sleep. Half the business of the Nation 
is transacted there. Don't mention this subject again." 

Elsie choked back a sob at the cold menace in the 
tones of this command, and never repeated her request. 
It was the only wish he had ever denied her, and, some- 
how, her heart would come back to it with persistence 
and brood and wonder over his motive. 

The nearer she drew, this morning, to the hospital 
door, the closer the wounded boy's life and loved ones 
seemed to hers. She thought with anguish of the storm 
about to break between her father and the President — 
the one demanding the desolation of their land, wasted, 
harried, and unarmed! — the President firm in his policy 
of mercy, generosity, and healing. 

Her father would not mince words. His scorpion 
tongue, set on fires of hell, might start a conflagration 
that would light the Nation with its glare. Would not his 
name be a terror for every man and woman born under 
Southern skies? The sickening feeling stole over her that 
he was wrong, and his policy cruel and unjust. 

She had never before admired the President. It was 
fashionable to speak with contempt of him in Washing- 



The Battle of Love 59 

ton. He had little following in Congress. Nine tenths of 
the politicians hated or feared him, and she knew her 
father had been the soul of a conspiracy at the Capitol to 
prevent his second nomination and create a dictatorship, 
under which to carry out an iron policy of reconstruction 
in the South. And now she found herself heart and soul 
the champion of the President. 

She was ashamed of her disloyalty, and felt a rush of 
impetuous anger against Ben and his people for thrusting' 
themselves between her and her own. Yet how absurd to 
feel thus against the innocent victims of a great tragedy? 
She put the thought from her. Still she must part from 
them now before the brewing storm burst. It would be 
best for her and best for them. This pardon delivered 
would end their relations. She would send the papers 
by a messenger and not see them again. And then she 
thought with a throb of girlish pride of the hour to come 
in the future when Ben's big brown eyes would be soft- 
ened with a tear when he would learn that she had saved 
his life. They had concealed all from him as yet. 

She was afraid to question too closely in her own heart 
the shadowy motive that lay back of her joy. She read 
again with a lingering smile the name "Ben Cameron" 
on the paper with its big red Seal of Life. She had 
laughed at boys who had made love to her, dreaming a 
wider, nobler life of heroic service. And she felt that she 
was fulfilling her ideal in the generous hand she had ex- 
tended to these who were friendless. Were they not the 
children of her soul in that larger, finer world of which 
she had dreamed and sung? Why should she give them 



60 The Clansman 

up now for brutal politics? Their sorrow had been hers^ 
their joy should be hers, too. She would take the papers 
herself and then say good-bye. 

She found the mother and sister beside the cot. Ben 
was sleeping with Margaret holding one of his hands. 
The mother was busy sewing for the wounded Confeder- 
ate boys she had found scattered through the hospital. 

At the sight of Elsie holding aloft the message of life 
she sprang to meet her with a cry of joy. 

She clasped the girl to her breast, unable to speak. At 
last she released her and said with a sob: 

"My child, through good report and through evil re- 
port my love will enfold you!" 

Elsie stammered, looked away, and tried to hide her 
emotion. Margaret had knelt and bowed her head on 
Ben's cot. She rose at length, threw her arms around 
Elsie in a resistless impulse, kissed her and whispered: 

"My sweet sister!" 

Elsie's heart leaped at the words, as her eyes rested on 
the face of the sleeping soldier. 



CHAPTER VI 

The Assassination 

ELSIE called in the afternoon at the Camerons* 
lodgings, radiant with pride, accompanied by 
her brother. 

Captain Phil Stoneman, athletic, bronzed, a veteran of 
two years' service, dressed in his full uniform, was the 
ideal soldier, and yet he had never loved war. He was 
bubbling over with quiet joy that the end had come and 
he could soon return to a rational life. Inheriting his 
mother's temperament, he was generous, enterprising, 
quick, intelligent, modest, and ambitious. War had 
seemed to him a horrible tragedy from the first. He had 
early learned to respect a brave foe, and bitterness had 
long since melted out of his heart. 

He had laughed at his father's harsh ideas of Southern 
life gained as a politician, and, while loyal to him after a 
boy's fashion, he took no stock in his Radical programme. 

The father, colossal egotist that he was, heard Phil's 
protests with mild amusement and quiet pride in his 
independence, for he loved this boy with deep tenderness. 

Phil had been touched by the story of Ben's narrow 
escape, and was anxious to show his mother and sister 
every courtesy possible in part atonement for the wrong 
he felt had been done them. He was timid with girls, 



€2 The Clansman 

and yet he wished to give Margaret a cordial greeting for 
Elsie's sake. He was not prepared for the shock the 
first appearance of the Southern girl gave him. 

When the stately figure swept through the door to 
greet him, her black eyes sparkling with welcome, her 
voice low and tender with genuine feeling, he caught his 
breath in surprise. 

Elsie noted his confusion with amusement and said: 

' ' I must go to the hospital for a little work. Now, Phil, 
I'll meet you at the door at eight o'clock." 

"I'll not forget," he answered abstractedly, watching 
Margaret intently as she walked with Elsie to the door. 

He saw that her dress was of coarse, unbleached cotton, 
dyed with the juice of walnut hulls and set with wooden 
hand-made buttons. The story these things told of war 
and want was eloquent, yet she wore them with uncon- 
scious dignity. She had not a pin or brooch or piece of 
jewellery. Everything about her was plain and smooth, 
graceful and gracious. Her face was large — the lovely 
oval type — and her luxuriant hair, parted in the middle, 
fell downward in two great waves. Tall, stately, hand- 
some, her dark rare Southern beauty full of subtle languor 
and indolent grace, she was to Phil a revelation. 

The coarse black dress that clung closely to her figure 
seemed alive when she moved, vital with her beauty. 
The musical cadences of her voice were vibrant with 
ieeling, sweet, tender, and homelike. And the odour 
.of the rose she wore pinned low on her breast he could 
swear was the perfume of her breath. 

Lingering in her eyes and echoing in the tones of her 



The Assassination 63 

voice, he caught the shadowy memory of tears for the 
loved and lost that gave a strange pathos and haunting 
charm to her youth. 

She had returned quickly and was talking at ease with 
him. 

"I'm not going to tell you, Captain Stoneman, that I 
hope to be a sister to you. You have already made 
yourself my brother in what you did for Ben." 

"Nothing, I assure you, Miss Cameron, that any 
soldier wouldn't do for a brave foe." 

"Perhaps; but when the foe happens to be an only 
brother, my chum and playmate, brave and generous, 
whom I've worshipped as my beau-ideal man — why, you 
know I must thank you for taking him in your arms that 
day. May I, again? " 

Phil felt the soft warm hand clasp his, while the black 
eyes sparkled and glowed their friendly message. 

He murmured something incoherently, looked at Mar- 
garet as if in a spell, and forgot to let her hand go. 

She laughed at last, and he blushed and dropped it as 
though it were a live coal. 

"I was about to forget, Miss Cameron. I wish to take 
you to the theatre to-night, if you will go?" 

"To the theatre?" 

"Yes, It's to be an occasion, Elsie tells me. Laura 
Keene's last appearance in 'Our American Cousin,' and 
her one-thousandth performance of the play. She played 
it in Chicago at McVicker's, when the President was first 
nominated, to hundreds of the delegates who voted for 
him. He is to be present to-night, so the Evening Star 



64 The Clansman 

has announced, and General and Mrs. Grant with him. 
It will be the opportunity of your life to see these famous 
men — besides, I wish you to see the city illuminated on 
the way." 

Margaret hesitated. 

"I should like to go," she said with some confusion. 
"But you see we are old-fashioned Scotch Presbyterians 
down in our village in South Carolina. I never was in 
a theatre — and this is Good Friday " 

"That's a fact, sure," said Phil thoughtfully. "It 
never occurred to me. War is not exactly a spiritual 
stimulant, and it blurs the calendar. I believe we fight 
on Sundays oftener than on any other day." 

"But I'm crazy to see the President since Ben's 
pardon. Mamma will be here in a moment, and I'll ask 
her." 

"You see, it's really an occasion," Phil went on. 
"The people are all going there to see President Lincoln 
in the hour of his triumph, and his great General fresh 
from the field of victory. Grant has just arrived in 
town." 

Mrs. Cameron entered and greeted Phil with motherly 
tenderness. 

"Captain, you're so much like my boy! Had you 
noticed it, Margaret?" 

"Of course, Mamma, but I was afraid I'd tire him with 
flattery if I tried to tell him." 

"Only his hair is light and wavy, and Ben's straight 
and black, or you'd call them twins. Ben's a little taller 
— excuse us, Captain Stoneman, but we've fallen so in 



The Assassination 65 

love with your little sister we feel we've known you all 
our lives." 

"I assure you, Mrs. Cameron, your flattery is very 
sweet. Elsie and I do not remember our mother, and 
all this friendly criticism is more than welcome." 

"Mamma, Captain Stoneman asks me to go with him 
and his sister to-night to see the President at the theatre. 
May I go?" 

"Will the President be there, Captain?" asked Mrs. 
Cameron. 

"Yes, Madam, with General and Mrs. Grant — it's 
really a great public function in celebration of peace and 
victory. To-day the flag was raised over Fort Sumter, 
the anniversary of its surrender four years ago. The city 
will be illuminated." 

"Then, of course, you can go. I will sit with Ben. 
I wish you to see the President." 

At seven o'clock Phil called for Margaret. They walked 
to the Capitol hill and down Pennsylvania Avenue. 

The city was in a ferment. Vast crowds thronged the 
streets. In front of the hotel where General Grant 
stopped the throng was so dense the streets were com- 
pletely blocked. Soldiers, soldiers, soldiers, at every 
turn, in squads, in companies, in regimental crowds, 
shouting cries of victory. 

The display of lights was dazzling in its splendour. 
Every building in every street, in every nook and corner 
of the city, was lighted from attic to cellar. The public 
buildings and churches vied with each other in the magnifi- 
cence of their decorations and splendour of illuminations. 



66 The Clansman 

They turned a corner, and suddenly the Capitol on the 
throne of its imperial hill loomed a grand constellation in 
the heavens! Another look, and it seemed a huge bon- 
fire against the background of the dark skies. Every win- 
dow in its labyrinths of marble, from the massive base to 
its crowning statue of Freedom, gleamed and flashed with 
light — more than ten thousand jets poured their rays 
through its windows, besides the innumerable lights that 
circled the mighty dome within and without. 

Margaret stopped, and Phil felt her soft hand grip his 
arm with sudden emotion. 

"Isn't it sublime!" she whispered. ■ 

" Glorious ! " he echoed. 

But he was thinking of the pressure of her hand on his 
arm and the subtle tones of her voice. Somehow he felt 
that the light came from her eyes. He forgot the Capitol 
and the surging crowds before the sweeter creative won- 
der silently growing in his soul. 

"And yet," she faltered, "when I think of what all this 
means for our people at home — their sorrow and poverty 
and ruin — you know it makes me faint." 

Phil's hand timidly sought the soft one resting on his 
arm and touched it reverently. 

"Believe me, Miss Margaret, it will be all for the best 
in the end. The South will yet rise to a nobler life than 
she has ever lived in the past. This is her victory as well 
as ours." 

"I wish I could think so," she answered. 

They passed the City Hall and saw across its front, in 
giant letters of fire thirty feet deep, the words: 



The Assassination 67 



On Pennsylvania Avenue the hotels and stores had 
hung every window, awning, cornice, and swaying tree- 
top with lanterns. The grand avenue was bridged by tri- 
coloured balloons floating and shimmering ghostlike far 
up in the dark sky. Above these, in the blacker zone 
toward the stars, the heavens were flashing sheets of 
chameleon flames from bursting rockets. 

Margaret had never dreamed such a spectacle. She 
walked in awed silence, now and then suppressing a sob 
for the memory of those she had loved and lost. A mo- 
ment of bitterness would cloud her heart, and then with 
the sense of Phil's nearness, his generous nature, the 
beauty and goodness of his sister, and all they owed to her 
for Ben's life, the cloud would pass. 

At every public building, and in front of every great 
hotel, bands were playing. The wild war strains, floating 
skyward, seemed part of the changing scheme of light. 
The odour of burnt powder and smouldering rockets 
filled the warm spring air. 

The deep bay of the great fort guns now began to echo 
from every hilltop commanding the city, while a thou- 
sand smaller guns barked and growled from every square 
and park and crossing. 

Jay Cooke & Co's. banking-house had stretched across 
its front, in enormous blazing letters, the words : 

"THE BUSY B'S — BALLS, BALLOTS, AND BONDS " 

Every telegraph and newspaper office was a roaring 
whirlpool of excitement, for the same scenes were being 



68 The Clansman 

enacted in every centre of the North. The whole city 
was now a fairy dream, its dirt and sin, shame and crime, 
all wrapped in glorious light. 

But above all other impressions was the contagion of 
the thunder shouts of hosts of men surging through the 
streets — the human roar with its animal and spiritual 
magnetism, wild, resistless, unlike any other force in the 
universe ! 

Margaret's hand again and again unconsciously tight- 
ened its hold on Phil's arm, and he felt that the whole 
celebration had been gotten up for his benefit. 

They passed through a little park on their way to 
Ford's Theatre on ioth Street, and the eye of the South- 
ern girl was quick to note the budding flowers and full- 
blown lilacs. 

"See what an early spring!" she cried. "I know the 
flowers at home are gorgeous now." 

"I shall hope to see you among them some day, when 
all the clouds have lifted," he said. 

She smiled and replied with simple earnestness: 

"A warm welcome will await your coming." 

And Phil resolved to lose no time in testing it. 

They turned into ioth Street, and in the middle of 
the block stood the plain three-story brick structure of 
Ford's Theatre, an enormous crowd surging about its 
five doorways and spreading out on the sidewalk and half 
across the driveway. 

"Is that the theatre?" asked Margaret. 

"Yes." 

"Why, it looks like a church without a steeple." 



The Assassination 69 

"Exactly what it really is, Miss Margaret. It was a 
Baptist church. They turned it into a playhouse, by 
remodelling its gallery into a dress-circle and balcony and 
adding another gallery above. My grandmother Stone- 
man is a devoted Baptist, and was an attendant at this 
church. My father never goes to church, but he used to 
go here occasionally to please her. Elsie and I frequently 
came." 

Phil pushed his way rapidly through the crowd with a 
peculiar sense of pleasure in making a way for Margaret 
and in defending her from the jostling throng. 

They found Elsie at the door, stamping her foot with 
impatience. 

"Well, I must say, Phil, this is prompt for a soldier who 
had positive orders," she cried. " I've been here an hour." 

"Nonsense, Sis, I'm ahead of time," he protested. 

Elsie held up her watch. 

"It's a quarter past eight. Every seat is filled, and 
they've stopped selling standing-room. I hope you have 
good seats." 

" The best in the house to-night, the first row in the 
balcony dress-circle, opposite the President's box. We 
can see everything on the stage, in the box, and every 
nook and corner of the house." 

"Then I'll forgive you for keeping me waiting.'^ ' 

They ascended the stairs, pushed through the throng 
standing, and at last reached the seats. 

What a crowd! The building was a mass of throbbing 
humanity, and, over all, the hum of the thrilling wonder 
of peace and victory! 



70 The Clansman 

The women in magnificent costumes, officers in uni- 
forms flashing with gold, the show of wealth and power, 
the perfume of flowers and the music of violin and flutes 
gave Margaret the impression of a dream, so sharp 
was the contrast with her own life and people in the 
South. 

The interior of the house was a billow of red, white, and 
blue. The President's box was wrapped in two enormous 
silk flags with gold-fringed edges gracefully draped and 
hanging in festoons. 

Withers, the leader of the orchestra, was in high 
feather. He raised his baton with quick, inspired move- 
ment. It was for him a personal triumph, too. He had 
composed the music of a song for the occasion. It was 
dedicated to the President, and the programme announced 
that it would be rendered during the evening between the 
acts by a famous quartet, assisted by the whole company 
in chorus. The National flag would be draped about 
each singer, worn as the togas of ancient Greece and 
Rome. 

It was already known by the crowd that General and 
Mrs. Grant had left the city for the North and could not 
be present, but every eye was fixed on the door through 
which the President and Mrs. Lincoln would enter. It 
was the hour of his supreme triumph. 

What a romance his life ! The thought of it thrilled the 
crowd as they waited. A few years ago this tall, sad- 
faced man had floated down the Sangamon River into a 
rough Illinois town, ragged, penniless, friendless, alone, 
begging for work. Four years before he had entered 




THE ASSASSINATION. 



*The Birth of a Nation. 



The Assassination 71 

Washington as President of the United States — but he 
came under cover of the night with a handful of personal 
friends, amid universal contempt for his ability and the 
loud expressed conviction of his failure from within and 
without his party. He faced a divided Nation and the 
most awful civil convulsion in history. Through it all 
he had led the Nation in safety, growing each day in 
power and fame, until to-night, amid the victorious 
shouts of millions of a Union fixed in eternal granite, he 
stood forth the idol of the people, the first great American, 
the foremost man of the world. 

There was a stir at the door, and the tall figure suddenly 
loomed in view of the crowd. With one impulse they 
leaped to their feet, and shout after shout shook the 
building. The orchestra was playing ' ' Hail to the Chief ! ' ' 
but nobody hear"! it. They saw the Chief! They were 
crying their own welcome in music that came from the 
rhythmic beat of human hearts. 

As the President walked along the aisle with Mrs. 
Lincoln, accompanied by Senator Harris' daughter and 
Major Rathbone, cheer after cheer burst from the crowd. 
He turned, his face beaming with pleasure, and bowed as 
he passed. 

The answer of the crowd shook the building to its 
foundations, and the President paused. His dark face 
flashed with emotion as he looked over the sea of cheering 
humanity. It was a moment of supreme exaltation. 
The people had grown to know and love and trust him, 
and it was sweet. His face, lit with the responsive fires of 
emotion, was transfigured. The soul seemed to separate 



72 The Clansman 

itself from its dreamy, rugged dwelling-place and flash 
its inspiration from the spirit world. 

As around this man's personality had gathered the 
agony and horror of war, so now about his head glowed 
and gleamed in imagination the splendours of victory. 

Margaret impulsively put her hand on Phil's arm: 

"Why, how Southern he looks! How tall and dark and 
typical his whole figure!" 

"Yes, and his traits of character even more typical," 
said Phil. "On the surface, easy friendly ways and the 
tenderness of a woman — beneath, an iron will and lion 
heart. I like him. And what always amazes me is his 
universality. A Southerner finds in him the South, the 
Western man the West, even Charles Sumner, from 
Boston, almost loves him. You know I think he is the 
first great all-round American who ever lived in the 
White House." 

The President's party had now entered the box, and as 
Mr. Lincoln took the armchair nearest the audience, 
in full view of every eye in the house, again the cheers 
rent the air. In vain Withers' baton flew, and the 
orchestra did its best. The music was drowned as in the 
roar of the sea. Again he rose and bowed and smiled, 
his face radiant with pleasure. The soul beneath those 
deep-cut lines had long pined for the sunlight. His 
love of the theatre and the humorous story were the 
protest of his heart against pain and tragedy. He stood 
there bowing to the people, the grandest, gentlest figure 
of the fiercest war of human history — a man who was 
always doing merciful things stealthily as others do 



The Assassination 73 

crimes. Little sunlight had come into his life, yet to- 
night he felt that the sun of a new day in his history and 
the history of the people was already tingeing the horizon 
with glory. 

Back of those smiles what a story! Many a night he 
had paced back and forth in the telegraph office of the 
War Department, read its awful news of defeat, and 
alone sat down and cried over the list of the dead. Many 
a black hour his soul had seen when the honours of 
earth were forgotten and his great heart throbbed on his 
sleeve. His character had grown so evenly and silently 
with the burdens he had borne, working mighty deeds 
with such little friction, he could not know, nor could the 
crowd to whom he bowed, how deep into the core of the 
people's life the love of him had grown. 

As he looked again over the surging crowd his tall 
figure seemed to straighten, erect and buoyant, with the 
new dignity of conscious triumphant leadership. He 
knew that he had come unto his own at last, and his 
brain was teeming with dreams of mercy and healing. 

The President resumed his seat, the tumult died away, 
and the play began amid a low hum of whispered com- 
ment directed at the flag-draped box. The actors struggled 
in vain to hold the attention of the audience, until finally 
Hawk, the actor playing Dundreary, determined to 
catch their ear, paused and said: 

"Now, that reminds me of a little story, as Mr. Lincoln 
says " 

Instantly the crowd burst into a storm of applause, the 
President laughed, leaned over and spoke to his wife, and 



74 The Clansman 

the electric connection was made between the stage, the 
box, and the people. 

After this the play ran its smooth course, and the 
audience settled into its accustomed humour of sym- 
pathetic attention. 

In spite of the novelty of this her first view of a theatre, 
the President fascinated Margaret. She watched the 
changing lights and shadows of his sensitive face with 
untiring interest, and the wonder of his life grew upon her 
imagination. This man who was the idol of the North 
and yet to her so purely Southern, who had come out of 
the West and yet was greater than the West or the North, 
and yet always supremely human — this man who sprang 
to his feet from the chair of State and bowed to a sorrow- 
ing woman with the deference of a knight, every man's 
friend, good-natured, sensible, masterful and clear in 
intellect, strong, yet modest, kind and gentle — yes, he 
was more interesting than all the drama and romance of 
the stage! 

He held her imagination in a spell. Elsie, divining 
her abstraction, looked toward the President's box and 
saw approaching it along the balcony aisle the figure of 
John Wilkes Booth. 

"Look," she cried, touching Margaret's arm. "There's 
John Wilkes Booth, the actor I Isn't he handsome? 
They say he's in love with my chum, a senator's daugh- 
ter whose father hates Mr. Lincoln with perfect fury." 

"He is handsome," Margaret answered. "But I'd 
be afraid of him, with that raven hair and eyes shining 
like something wild." 



The Assassination 75 

"They say he is wild and dissipated, yet half the silly 
girls in town are in love with him. He's as vain as a 
peacock." 

Booth, accustomed to free access to the theatre, paused 
near the entrance to the box and looked deliberately over 
the great crowd, his magnetic face flushed with deep 
emotion, while his fiery inspiring eyes glittered with 
excitement. 

Dressed in a suit of black broadcloth of faultless fit, 
from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet he was 
physically without blemish. A figure of perfect sym- 
metry and proportion, his dark eyes flashing, his marble 
forehead crowned with curling black hair, agility and 
grace stamped on every line of his being — beyond a 
doubt he was the handsomest man in America. A flutter 
of feminine excitement rippled the surface of the crowd in 
the balcony as his well-known figure caught the wander- 
ing eyes of the women. 

He turned and entered the door leading to the Presi- 
dent's box, and Margaret once more gave her attention to 
the stage. 

Hawk, as Dundreary, was speaking his lines and 
looking directly at the President instead of at the audi- 
ence: 

"Society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn 
you inside out, old woman, you darned old sockdologing 
man trap!" 

Margaret winced at the coarse words, but the galleries 
burst into shouts of laughter that lingered in ripples and 
murmurs and the shuffling of feet. 



76 ■ The Clansman 

The muffled crack of a pistol in the President's box 
hushed the laughter for an instant. 

No one realized what had happened, and when the 
assassin suddenly leaped from the box, with a blood- 
marked knife flashing in his right hand, caught his foot in 
the flags and fell to his knees on the stage, many thought 
it a part of the programme, and a boy, leaning over the 
gallery rail, giggled. When Booth turned his face of 
statuesque beauty lit by eyes flashing with insane des- 
peration and cried, "Sic semper tyrannis" they were 
only confirmed in this impression. 

A sudden, piercing scream from Mrs. Lincoln, quiver- 
ing, soul harrowing! Leaning far out of the box, from 
ashen cheeks and lips leaped the piteous cry of appeal, 
her hand pointing to the retreating figure: 

"The President is shot! He has killed the President!" 

Every heart stood still for one awful moment. The 
brain refused to record the message — and then the storm 
burst! 

A wild roar of helpless fury and despair! Men hurled 
themselves over the footlights in vain pursuit of the as- 
sassin. Already the clatter of his horse's feet could be 
heard in the distance. A surgeon threw himself against 
the door of the box, but it had been barred within by the 
cunning hand. Another leaped on the stage, and the 
people lifted him up in their arms and over the fatal 
railing. 

Women began to faint, and strong men trampled 
down the weak in mad rushes from side to side. 

The stage in a moment was a seething mass of crazed 



The Assassination 77 

men, among them the actors and actresses in costumes 
and painted faces, their mortal terror sinning through 
the rouge. They passed water up to the box, and some 
tried to climb up and enter it. 

The two hundred soldiers of the President's guard 
suddenly burst in, and, amid screams and groans of the 
weak and injured, stormed the house with fixed bayonets, 
cursing, yelling, and shouting at the top of their voices: 

" Clear out ! Clear out ! You sons of hell ! " 

One of them suddenly bore down with fixed bayonet 
toward Phil. 

Margaret shrank in terror close to his side and trem- 
blingly held his arm. 

Elsie sprang forward, her face aflame, her eyes flashing 
fire, her little figure tense, erect, and quivering with rage: 

"How dare you, idiot, brute!" 

The soldier, brought to his senses, saw Phil in full 
captain's uniform before him, and suddenly drew himself 
up, saluting. Phil ordered him to guard Margaret and 
Elsie for a moment, drew his sword, leaped between the 
crazed soldiers and their victims and stopped their insane 
rush. 

Within the box the great head lay in the surgeon's 
arms, the blood slowly dripping down, and the tiny death 
bubbles forming on the kindly lips. They carried him 
tenderly out, and another group bore after him the un- 
conscious wife. The people tore the seats from their 
fastenings and heaped them in piles to make way for the 
precious burdens. 

As Phil pressed forward with Margaret and Elsie 



78 The Clansman 

through the open door came the roar of the mob without, 
shouting its cries: 

"The President is shot!" 

"Seward is murdered!" 

"Where is Grant?" 

"Where is Stanton?" 

"To arms! To arms!" 

The peal of signal guns could now be heard, the roll 
of drums and the hurried tramp of soldiers' feet. They 
marched none too soon. The mob had attacked the 
stockade holding ten thousand unarmed Confederate 
prisoners. 

At the corner of the block in which the theatre stood 
they seized a man who looked like a Southerner and 
hung him to the lamp-post. Two heroic policemen 
fought their way to his side and rescued him. 

If the temper of the people during the war had been 
convulsive, now it was insane — with one mad impulse 
and one thought — vengeance! Horror, anger, terror, 
uncertainty, each passion fanned the one animal instinct 
into fury. 

Through this awful night, with the lights still gleaming 
as if to mock the celebration of victory, the crowds 
swayed in impotent rage through the streets, while the 
telegraph bore on the wings of lightning the awe-inspiring 
news. Men caught it from the wires, and stood in silent 
groups weeping, and their wrath against the fallen South 
began to rise as the moaning of the sea under a coming 
storm. 

At dawn black clouds hung threatening on the eastern 



The Assassination 79 

horizon. As the sun rose, tingeing them for a moment 
with scarlet and purple glory, Abraham Lincoln breathed 
his last. 

Even grim Stanton, the iron-hearted, stood by his bed- 
side and through blinding tears exclaimed: 

"Now he belongs to the ages ! " 

The deed was done. The wheel of things had moved. 
Vice-President Johnson took the oath of office, and men 
hailed him Chief; but the seat of Empire had moved 
from the White House to a little dark house on the Capitol 
hill, where dwelt an old club-footed man, alone, attended 
by a strange brown woman of sinister animal beauty and 
the restless eyes of a leopardess. 



CHAPTER VII 
The Frenzy of a Nation 

PHIL hurried through the excited crowds with 
^Margaret and Elsie, left them at the hospital 
door, and ran to the War Department to report 
for duty. Already the tramp of regiments echoed down 
every great avenue. 

Even as he ran, his heart beat with a strange new 
stroke when he recalled the look of appeal in Margaret's 
dark eyes as she nestled close to his side and clung to his 
arm for protection. He remembered with a smile the 
almost resistless impulse of the moment to slip his arm 
around her and assure her of safety. If he had only 
dared ! 

Elsie begged Mrs. Cameron and Margaret to go home 
with her until the city was quiet. 

"No," said the mother. "I am not afraid. Death 
has no terrors for me any longer. We will not leave 
Ben a moment now, day or night. My soul is sick with 
dread for what this awful tragedy will mean for the South ! 
I can't think of my own safety. Can any one undo this 
pardon now?" she asked anxiously. 

"I am sure they cannot. The name on that [paper 
should be mightier dead than living." 

"Ah, but will it be? Do you know Mr. Johnson? 

So 



■ The Frenzy of a Nation 81 

Can he control Stanton? He seemed to be more powerful 
than the President himself. What will that man do 
now with those who fall into his hands." 

"He can do nothing with your son, rest assured." 
["I wish I knew it," said the mother wistfully. 
*'^* * * * * * 

A few moments after the President died on Saturday 
morning, the rain began to pour in torrents. The flags 
that flew from a thousand gilt-tipped peaks in celebration 
of victory drooped to half-mast and hung weeping around 
their staffs. The litter of burnt fireworks, limp and 
crumbling, strewed the streets, and the tri-coloured 
lanterns and balloons, hanging pathetically from their 
wires, began to fall to pieces. 

Never in all the history of man had such a conjunction 
of events befallen a nation. From the heights of heaven's 
rejoicing to be suddenly hurled to the depths of hell in 
piteous helpless grief! Noon to midnight without a 
moment between. A pall of voiceless horror spread its 
shadows over the land. Nothing short of an earthquake 
or the sound of the archangel's trumpet could have pro- 
duced the sense of helpless consternation, the black and 
speechless despair. The people read their papers in tears. 
The morning meal was untouched. By no other single 
feat could death have carried such peculiar horror to 
every%ome. Around this giant figure the heartstrings of 
the people had been unconsciously knit. Even his politi- 
cal enemies had come to love him. 

Above all, in just this moment he was the incarnation of 
the Triumphant Union on the altar of whose life every 



82 The Clansman 

house had laid the offering of its first-born. The tragedy 
was stupefying — it was unthinkable — it was the mockery 
of Fate! 

Men walked the streets of the cities, dazed with the 
sense of blind grief. Every note of music and rejoicing 
became a dirge. All business ceased. Every wheel in 
every mill stopped. The roar of the great city was hushed, 
and Greed for a moment forgot his cunning. 

The army only moved with swifter spring, tightening 
its mighty grip on the throat of the bleeding prostrate 
South. 

As the day wore on its gloomy hours, and men began to 
find speech, they spoke to each other at first in low tones 
of Fate, of Life, of Death, of Immortality, of God — and 
then as grief found words the measureless rage of baffled 
strength grew slowly to madness. 

On every breeze from the North came the deep- 
muttered curses. 

Easter Sunday dawned after the storm, clear and 
beautiful in a flood of glorious sunshine. The churches 
were thronged as never in their history. All had been 
decorated for the double celebration of Easter and the 
triumph of the Union. The preachers had prepared 
sermons pitched in the highest anthem key of victory — 
victory over death and the grave of Calvary, and vic- 
tory for the Nation opening a future of boundless glory. 
The churches were labyrinths of flowers, and around 
every pulpit and from every Gothic arch hung the red, 
white, and blue flags of the Republic. 

And now, as if to mock this gorgeous pageant, Death 



The Frenzy of a Nation 83 

had in the night flung a black mantle over every flag and 
wound a strangling web of crape round every Easter 
flower. 

When the preachers faced the silent crowds before 
them, looking into the faces of fathers, mothers, brothers, 
sisters, and lovers whose dear ones had been slain in 
battle or died in prison pens, the tide of grief and rage 
rose and swept them from their feet! The Easter sermon 
was laid aside. Fifty thousand Christian ministers, 
stunned and crazed by insane passion, standing before the 
altars of God, hurled into the broken hearts before them 
the wildest cries of vengeance — cries incoherent, chaotic, 
unreasoning, blind in their awful fury! 

The pulpits of New York and Brooklyn led in the mad- 
ness. 

Next morning old Stoneman read his paper with a cold 
smile playing about his big stern mouth, while his fur- 
rowed brow flushed with triumph, as again and again he 
exclaimed : " At last ! At last ! " 

Even Beecher, who had just spoken his generous words 
at Fort Sumter, declared: 

"Never while time lasts, while heaven lasts, while hell 
rocks and groans, will it be forgotten that Slavery, by its 
minions, slew him, and slaying him made manifest its 
whole nature. A man cannot be bred in its tainted air. 
I shall find saints in hell sooner than I shall find true 
manhood under its accursed influences. The breeding- 
ground of such monsters must be utterly and forever 
destroyed." 

Dr. Stephen Tyng said: 



84 The Clansman 

"The leaders of this rebellion deserve no pity from any 
human being. Now let them go. Some other land must 
be their home. Their property is justly forfeited to the 
Nation they have attempted to destroy!" 

In big black-faced type stood Dr. Charles S. Robinson's 
bitter words: 

"This is the earliest reply which chivalry makes to our 
forbearance. Talk to me no more of the same race, of 
the same blood. He is no brother of mine and of no race 
of mine who crowns the barbarism of treason with the 
murder of an unarmed husband in the sight of his wife. 
On the villains who led this rebellion let justice fall 
swift and relentless. Death to every traitor of the South ! 
Pursue them one by one! Let every door be closed upon 
them and judgment follow swift and implacable as death ! " 

Dr. Theodore Cuyler exclaimed: 

"This is no time to talk of leniency and conciliation! 
I say before God, make no terms with rebellion short of 
extinction. Booth wielding the assassin's weapon is 
but the embodiment of the bowie-knife barbarism of a 
slaveholding oligarchy." 

Dr. J. P. Thompson said: 

"Blot every Southern State from the map. Strip every 
rebel of property and citizenship, and send them into 
exile beggared and infamous outcasts." 

Bishop Little John, in his impassioned appeal, declared : 

"The deed is worthy of the Southern cause which was 
conceived in sin, brought forth in iniquity, and consum- 
mated in crime. This murderous hand is the same hand 
which lashed the slave's bared back, struck down New 



The Frenzy of a Nation : 85 

England's senator for daring to speak, lifted the torch of 
rebellion, slaughtered in cold blood its thousands, and 
starved our helpless prisoners. Its end is not martyrdom, 
but dishonour." 

Bishop Simpson said: 

"Let every man who was a member of Congress and 
aided this rebellion be brought to speedy punishment. Let 
every officer educated at public expense, who turned his 
sword against his country, be doomed to a traitor's death ! " 

With the last note of this wild music lingering in the 
old Commoner's soul, he sat as if dreaming, laughed 
cynically, turned to the brown woman and said: 

"My speeches have not been lost after all. Prepare 
dinner for six. My cabinet will meet here to-night." 

While the press was reechoing these sermons, gather- 
ing strength as they were caught and repeated in every 
town, village, and hamlet in the North, the funeral pro- 
cession started westward. It passed in grandeur through 
the great cities on its journey of one thousand six hundred 
miles to the tomb. By day, by night, by dawn, by sun- 
light, by twilight, and lit by solemn torches, millions of 
silent men and women looked on his dead face. Around 
the person of this tall, lonely man, rugged, yet full of 
sombre dignity and spiritual beauty, the thoughts, hopes, 
dreams, and ideals of the people had gathered in four 
years of agony and death, until they had come to feel 
their own hearts beat in his breast and their own life 
throb in his life. The assassin's bullet had crashed into 
their own brains, and torn their souls and bodies asunder. 

The masses were swept from their moorings, and reason 



86 The Clansman 

destroyed. All historic perspective was lost. Our first 
assassination, there was no precedent for comparison. It 
had been over two hundred years in the world's history 
since the last murder of a great ruler, when William of 
Orange fell. 

On the day set for the public funeral twenty million 
people bowed at the same hour. 

When the procession reached New York the streets 
were lined with a million people. Not a sound could be 
heard save the tramp of soldiers' feet and the muffled 
cry of the dirge. Though on every foot of earth stood 
a human being, the silence of the desert and of death! 
The Nation's living heroes rode in that procession, and 
passed without a sign from the people. 

Four years ago he drove down Broadway as President- 
elect, unnoticed and with soldiers in disguise attending 
him lest the mob should stone him. 

To-day, at the mention of his name in the churches, the 
preachers' voices in prayer wavered and broke into silence 
while strong men among the crowd burst into sobs. 
Flags flew at half-mast from their steeples, and their bells 
tolled in grief. 

Every house that flew but yesterday its banner of vic- 
tory was shrouded in mourning. The flags and pennants 
of a thousand ships in the harbour drooped at half-mast, 
and from every staff in the city streamed across the sky the 
black mists of crape like strange meteors in the troubled 
heavens. 

For three days every theatre, school, court, bank, shop, 
and mill was closed. 



The Frenzy of a Nation 87 

And with muttered curses men looked Southward. 
Across Broadway the cortege passed under a huge 
transparency on which appeared the words: 

"A Nation bowed in grief 

Will eise in might to exterminate 

The leaders of this accursed Rebellion." 

Farther along swung the black-draped banner: 

"Justice to Traitors 

is 
Mercy to the Peopl e." 

Another flapped its grim message: 

"The Barbarism of Slavery. \ 
Can Barbarism go Further?" 

Across the Ninth Regiment Armoury, in gigantic letters, 
were the words: 

"Time for Weeping 
But Vengeance is not Sleeping!" 

When the procession reached Buffalo, the house of 
Millard Fillmore was mobbed because the ex-President, 
stricken on a bed of illness, had neglected to drape his 
house in mourning. The procession passed to Spring- 
field through miles of bowed heads dumb with grief. The 
plough stopped in the furrow, the smith dropped his ham- 
mer, the carpenter his plane, the merchant closed his 
door, the clink of coin ceased, and over all hung brooding 
silence with low-muttered curses, fierce and incoherent. 



88 The Clansman 

No man who walked the earth ever passed to his tomb 
through such a storm of human tears. The pageants of 
Alexander, Caesar, and Wellington were tinsel to this. 
Nor did the spirit of Napoleon, the Corsican Lieutenant 
of Artillery who once presided over a congress of kings 
whom he had conquered, look down on its like even in 
France. 

And now that its pomp was done and its memory but 
bitterness and ashes, but one man knew exactly what he 
wanted and what he meant to do. Others were stunned 
by the blow. But the cold eyes of the Great Com- 
moner, leader of leaders, sparkled, and his grim lips 
smiled. From him not a word of praise or fawning 
sorrow for the dead. Whatever he might be, he was 
not a liar: when he hated, he hated. 

The drooping flags, the city's black shrouds, pro- 
cessions, torches, silent seas of faces and bared heads, the 
dirges and the bells, the dim-lit churches, wailing organs, 
fierce invectives from the altar, and the perfume of flowers 
piled in heaps by silent hearts — to all these was he heir. 

And more — the fierce unwritten, unspoken, and un- 
speakable horrors of the war itself, its passions, its 
cruelties, its hideous crimes and sufferings, the wailing of 
its women, the graves of its men — all these now were his. 

The new President bowed to the storm. In one breath 
he promised to fulfil the plans of Lincoln. In the next 
he, too, breathed threats of vengeance. 

The edict went forth for the arrest of General Lee. 

Would Grant, the Commanding General of the Army, 
dare protest? There were those who said that if Lee 



The Frenzy of a Nation 89 

were arrested and Grant's plighted word at Appomattox 
smirched, the silent soldier would not only protest, but 
draw his sword, if need be, to defend his honour and 
the honour of the Nation. Yet — would he dare? It 
remained to be seen. 

The jails were now packed with Southern men, taken 
unarmed from their homes. The old Capitol Prison was 
full, and every cell of every grated building in the city, 
and they were filling the rooms of the Capitol itself. 

Margaret, hurrying from the market in the early morn- 
ing with her flowers, was startled to find her mother 
bowed in anguish over a paragraph in the morning paper. 

She rose and handed it to the daughter, who read: 



"Dr. Richard Cameron, of South Carolina, arrived in 
Washington and was placed in jail last night, charged with 
complicity in the murder of President Lincoln. It was 
discovered that Jeff Davis spent the night at his home in 
Piedmont, under the pretence of needing medical attention. 
Beyond all doubt, Booth, the assassin, merely acted under 
orders from the Arch Traitor. May the gallows have a rich 
and early harvest!" 



Margaret tremblingly wound her arms around her 
mother's neck. No words broke the pitiful silence — only 
blinding tears and broken sobs. 



Book II— The Revolution 

CHAPTER I 

The First Lady of the Land 

THE little house on the Capitol hill now became 
the centre of fevered activity. This house, 
selected by its grim master to become the 
executive mansion of the Nation, was perhaps the most 
modest structure ever chosen for such high uses. 

It stood, a small, two-story brick building, in an unpre- 
tentious street. Seven windows opened on the front with 
black solid-panelled shutters. The front parlour was 
scantily furnished. A huge mirror covered one wall, and 
on the other hung a life-size oil portrait of Stoneman, 
and between the windows were a portrait of Washington 
Irving and a picture of a nun. Among his many char- 
ities he had always given liberally to an orphanage 
conducted by a Roman Catholic sisterhood. 

The back parlour, whose single window looked out on a 
small garden, he had fitted up as a library, with leather- 
upholstered furniture, a large desk and table, and scat- 
tered on the mantel and about its walls were the pho- 
tographs of his personal friends and a few costly prints. 
This room he used as his executive office, and no person 
was allowed to enter it without first stating his business or 
90 



The First Lady of the Land 91 

presenting a petition to the tawny brown woman with 
restless eyes who sat in state in the front parlour and re- 
ceived his visitors. The books in their cases gave evidence 
of little use for many years, although their character indi- 
cated the tastes of a man of culture. His Pliny, Caesar, 
Cicero, Tacitus, Sophocles, and Homer had evidently 
been read by a man who knew their beauties and loved 
them for their own sake. 

This house was now the Mecca of the party in power 
and the storm-centre of the forces destined to shape the 
Nation's life. Senators, representatives, politicians of 
low and high degree, artists, correspondents, foreign min- 
isters, and cabinet officers hurried to acknowledge then- 
fealty to the uncrowned king, and hail the strange brown 
woman who held the keys of his house as the first lady of 
the land. 

When Charles Sumner called, a curious thing happened. 
By a code agreed on between them, Lydia Brown touched 
an electric signal which informed the old Commoner of 
his appearance. Stoneman hobbled to the folding-doors 
and watched through the slight opening the manner in 
which the icy senator greeted the negress whom he was 
compelled to meet thus as his social equal, though she was 
always particular to pose as the superior of all who bowed 
the knee to the old man whose house she kept. 

Sumner at this time was supposed to be the most power- 
ful man in Congress. It was a harmless fiction which 
pleased him, and at which Stoneman loved to laugh. 

The senator from Massachusetts had just made a 
speech in Boston expounding the "Equality of Man," yet 



92 The Clansman 

he could not endure personal contact with a negro. He 
would go secretly miles out of the way to avoid it. 

Stoneman watched him slowly and daintily approach 
this negress and touch her jewelled hand gingerly with 
the tips of his classic fingers as if she were a toad. Con- 
vulsed, he scrambled back to his desk and hugged him- 
self while he listened to the flow of Lydia's condescending 
patronage in the next room. 

"This world's too good a thing to lose!" he chuckled. 
"I think I'll live always." 

When Sumner left, the hour for dinner had arrived, 
and by special invitation two men dined with him. 

On his right sat an army officer who had been dismissed 
from the service, 1 ^ victim of the mania for gambling. His 
ruddy face, iron-gray hair, and jovial mien indicated that 
he enjoyed life in spite of troubles. 

There were no clubs in Washington at this time except 
the regular gambling-houses, of which there were more 
than one hundred in full blast. 

Stoneman was himself a gambler, and spent a part of 
almost every night at Hall & Pemberton's Faro Palace 
on Pennsylvania Avenue, a place noted for its famous 
restaurant. It was here that he met Colonel Howie and 
learned to like him. He was a man of talent, cool and 
audacious, and a liar of such singular fluency that he 
quite captivated the old Commoner's imagination. 

"Upon my soul, Howie," he declared soon after they 
met, "you made the mistake of your life going into the 
army. You're a born politician. You're what I call a 
natural liar, just as a horse is a pacer, a dog a setter. You 



The First Lady of the Land j 93 

lie without effort, with an ease and grace that excels all 
art. Had you gone into politics, you could easily have 
been Secretary of State, to say nothing of the vice- 
presidency. I would say President but for the fact that 
men of the highest genius never attain it." 

From that moment Colonel Howie had become his 
charmed henchman. Stoneman owned this man body 
and soul, not merely because he had befriended him when 
he was in trouble and friendless, but because the colonel 
recognized the power of the leader's daring spirit and 
revolutionary genius. 

On his left sat a negro of perhaps forty years, a man of 
charming features for a mulatto, who had evidently in- 
herited the full physical characteristics of the Aryan race, 
while his dark yellowish eyes beneath his heavy brows 
glowed with the brightness of the African jungle. It 
was impossible to look at his superb face, with its large, 
finely chiselled lips and massive nose, his big neck and 
broad shoulders, and watch his eyes gleam beneath the 
projecting forehead, without seeing pictures of the pri- 
meval forest. "The head of a Caesar and the eyes of 
the jungle" was the phrase coined by an artist who 
painted his portrait. 

His hair was black and glossy and stood in dishevelled 
profusion on his head between a kink and a curl. He was 
an orator of great power, and stirred a negro audience as 
by magic. 

Lydia Brown had called Stoneman's attention to this 
man, Silas Lynch, and induced the statesman to send him 
to college. He had graduated with credit and had entered 



94 The Clansman 

the Methodist ministry. In his preaching to the freedmen 
he had already become a marked man. No house could 
hold his audiences. 

As he stepped briskly into the dining-room and passed 
the brown woman, a close observer might have seen him 
suddenly press her hand and caught her sly answering 
smile, but the old man waiting at the head of the table 
saw nothing. 

The woman took her seat opposite Stoneman and pre- 
sided over this curious group with the easy assurance of 
conscious power. Whatever her real position, she knew 
how to play the role she had chosen to assume. 

No more curious or sinister figure ever cast a shadow 
across the history of a great nation than did this mulatto 
woman in the most corrupt hour of American life. The 
grim old man who looked into her sleek tawny face and 
followed her catlike eyes was steadily gripping the Nation 
by the throat. Did he aim to make this woman the 
arbiter of its social life, and her ethics the limit of its 
moral laws? 

Even the white satellite who sat opposite Lynch flushed 
for a moment as the thought flashed through his brain. 

The old cynic, who alone knew his real purpose, was in 
his most genial mood to-night, and the grim lines of his 
powerful face relaxed into something like a smile as they 
ate and chatted and told good stories. 

Lynch watched him with keen interest. He knew his 
history and character, and had built on his genius a 
brilliant scheme of life. 

This man who meant to become the dictator of the 



The First Lady of the Land 95 

Republic had come from the humblest early conditions. 
His father was a worthless character, from whom he had 
learned the trade of a shoemaker, but his mother, a 
woman of vigorous intellect and indomitable will, had 
succeeded in giving her lame boy a college education. He 
had early sworn to be a man of wealth, and to this pur- 
pose he had throttled the dreams and ideals of a wayward 
imagination. 

His hope of great wealth had not been realized. His 
iron mills in Pennsylvania had been destroyed by Lee's 
army. He had developed the habit of gambling, which 
brought its train of extravagant habits, tastes, and in- 
evitable debts. In his vigorous manhood, in spite of his 
lameness, he had kept a pack of hounds and a stable of 
fine horses. He had used his skill in shoemaking to con- 
struct a set of stirrups to fit his lame feet, and had become 
an expert hunter to hounds. 

One thing he never neglected — to be in his seat in the 
House of Representatives and wear its royal crown of 
leadership, sick or well, day or night. The love of power 
was the breath of his nostrils, and his ambitions had at 
one time been boundless. His enormous power to-day 
was due to the fact that he had given up all hope of office 
beyond the robes of the king of his party. He had been 
offered a cabinet position by the elder Harrison and for 
some reason it had been withdrawn. He had been prom- 
ised a place in Lincoln's cabinet, but some mysterious 
power had snatched it away. He was the one great man 
who had now no ambition for which to trim and fawn 
and lie, and for the very reason that he had abolished 



96 The Clansman 

himself he was the most powerful leader who ever walked 
the halls of Congress. 

His contempt for public opinion was boundless. Bold, 
original, scornful of advice, of all the men who ever lived 
in our history he was the one man born to rule in the 
chaos which followed the assassination of the chief 
magistrate. 

Audacity was stamped in every line of his magnificent 
head. His choicest curses were for the cowards of his 
own party before whose blanched faces he shouted out 
the hidden things until they sank back in helpless silence 
and dismay. His speech was curt, his humour sardonic, 
his wit biting, cruel, and coarse. 

iThe incarnate soul of revolution, he despised convention 
and ridiculed respectability. 

There was but one weak spot in his armour — and the 
world never suspected it: the consuming passion with 
which he loved his two children. This was the side of his 
nature he had hidden from the eyes of man. A refined 
egotism, this passion, perhaps — for he meant to live his 
own life over in them — yet it was the one utterly human 
and lovable thing about him. And if his public policy was 
one of stupendous avarice, this dream of millions of con- 
fiscated wealth he meant to seize, it was not for himself 
but for his children. 

As he looked at Howie and Lynch seated in his library 

after dinner, with his great plans seething in his brain, 

his eyes were flashing, intense, and fiery, yet without 

colour — simply two centres of cold light. 

\" Gentlemen," he said at length. "I am going to ask 



The First Lady of the Land 97 

you to undertake for the Government, the Nation, and 
yourselves a dangerous and important mission. I say 
yourselves, because, in spite of all our beautiful lies, self 
is the centre of all human action. Mr. Lincoln has fortu- 
nately gone to his reward — fortunately for him and for 
his country. His death was necessary to save his life. 
He was a useful man living, more useful dead. Our 
party has lost its first President, but gained a god — why 
mourn?" 

"We will recover from our grief," said Howie. 

The old man went on, ignoring the interruption: 

"Things have somehow come my way I am almost 
persuaded late in life that the gods love me. The insane 
fury of the North against the South for a crime which they 
were the last people on earth to dream of committing is, 
of course, a power to be used — but with caution. The first 
execution of a Southern leader on such an idiotic charge 
would produce a revolution of sentiment. The people 
are an aggregation of hysterical fools." 

"I thought you favoured the execution of the leaders 
of the rebellion? " said Lynch with surprise. 

" I did, but it is too late. Had they been tried by drum- 
head court-martial and shot dead red-handed as they 
stood on the field in their uniforms, all would have been 
well. Now sentiment is too strong. Grant showed his 
teeth to Stanton and he backed down from Lee's arrest. 
Sherman refused to shake hands with Stanton on the 
grandstand the day his army passed in review, and it's a 
wonder he didn't knock him down. Sherman was de- 
nounced as a renegade and traitor for giving Joseph E. 



98 The Clansman 

Johnston the terms Lincoln ordered him to give. Lincoln 
dead, his terms are treason! Yet had he lived, we should 
have been called upon to applaud his mercy and patriot- 
ism. How can a man live in this world and keep his 
face straight? " 

"I believe God permitted Mr. Lincoln's death to give 
the great Commoner, the Leader of Leaders, the right of 
way," cried Lynch with enthusiasm. 

The old man smiled. With all his fierce spirit he 
was as susceptible to flattery as a woman — far more so 
than the sleek brown woman who carried the keys of his 
house. 

"The man at the other end of the avenue, who pretends 
to be President, in reality an alien of the conquered prov- 
ince of Tennessee, is pressing Lincoln's plan of 'restoring' 
the Union. He has organized State governments in the 
South, and their senators and representatives will appear 
at the Capitol in December for admission to Congress. 
He thinks they will enter " 

The old man broke into a low laugh and rubbed his 
hands. 

"My full plans are not for discussion at this juncture. 
Suffice it to say, I mean to secure the future of our party 
and the safety of this nation. The one thing on which 
the success of my plan absolutely depends is the confis- 
cation of the millions of acres of land owned by the white 
people of the South and its division among the negroes 
and those who fought and suffered in this war " 

The old Commoner paused, pursed his lips, and fum- 
bled his hands a moment, the nostrils of his eagle-beaked 



The First Lady of the Land 99 

nose breathing rapacity, sensuality throbbing in his 
massive jaws, and despotism frowning from his heavy 
brows. 

" Stanton will probably add to the hilarity of nations, 
and amuse himself by hanging a few rebels," he went on, 
"but we will address ourselves to serious work. All men 
have their price, including the present company, with due 
apologies to the speaker " 

Howie's eyes danced, and he licked his lips. 

"If I haven't suffered in this war, who has?" 

"Your reward will not be in accordance with your 
sufferings. It will be based on the efficiency with which 
you obey my orders. Read that " 

He handed to him a piece of paper on which he had 
scrawled his secret instructions. 

Another he gave to Lynch. 

"Hand them back to me when you read them, and I 
will burn them. These instructions are not to pass the lips 
of any man until the time is ripe — four bare walls are not 
to hear them whispered." 

Both men handed to the leader the slips of paper 
simultaneously. 

"Are we agreed, gentlemen?" 

"Perfectly," answered Howie. 

"Your word is law to me, sir," said Lynch. 

"Then you will draw on me personally for your ex- 
penses, and leave for the South within forty-eight hours. 
I wish your reports delivered to me two weeks before the 
meeting of Congress." 

As Lynch passed through the hall on his way to the 



100 The Clansman 

door, the brown woman bade him good-night and pressed 
into his hand a letter. 

As his yellow fingers closed on the missive, his eyes 
flashed for a moment with catlike humour. 

The woman's face wore the mask of a sphinx. 



CHAPTER II 

Sweethearts 

WHEN the first shock of horror at her husband's 
peril passed, it left a strange new light in Mrs. 
Cameron's eyes. 

The heritage of centuries of heroic blood from the mar- 
tyrs of old Scotland began to flash its inspiration from the 
past. Her heart beat with the unconscious life of men 
and women who had stood in the stocks, and walked in 
chains to the stake with songs on their lips. 

The threat against the life of Doctor Cameron had not 
only stirred her martyr blood: it had roused the latent 
heroism of a beautiful girlhood. To her he had ever 
been the lover and the undimmed hero of her girlish 
dreams. She spent whole hours locked in her room 
alone. Margaret knew that she was on her knees. She 
always came forth with sliining face and with soft words 
on her lips. 

She struggled for two months in vain efforts to obtain a 
single interview with him, or to obtain a copy of the 
charges. Doctor Cameron had been placed in the old 
Capitol Prison, already crowded to the utmost. He was 
in delicate health, and so ill when she had left home he 
could not accompany her to Richmond. 

Not a written or spoken word was allowed to pass 



102 The Clansman 

those prison doors. She could communicate with him 
only through the officers in charge. Every message from 
him was the same. " I love you always. Do not worry. 
Go home the moment you can leave Ben. I fear the 
worst at Piedmont." 

When he had sent this message, he would sit down and 
write the truth in a little diary he kept: 

"Another day of anguish. How long, Lord? Just 
one touch of her hand, one last pressure of her lips, and I 
am content. I have no desire to live — I am tired." 

The officers repeated the verbal messages, but they 
made no impression on Mrs. Cameron. By a mental 
telepathy which had always linked her life with his her 
soul had passed those prison bars. If he had written the 
pitiful record with a dagger's point on her heart, she 
could not have felt it more keenly. 

At times overwhelmed, she lay prostrate and sobbed 
in half-articulate cries. And then from the silence and 
mystery of the spirit world in which she felt the beat of 
the heart of Eternal Love would come again the strange 
peace that passeth understanding. She would rise and 
go forth to her task with a smile. 

In July she saw Mrs. Surratt taken from this old 
Capitol Prison to be hung with Payne, Herold, and Atzer- 
odt for complicity in the assassination. The military 
commission before whom this farce of justice was en- 
acted, suspicious of the testimony of the perjured wretches 
who had sworn her life away, had filed a memorandum 
with their verdict asking the President for mercy. 

President Johnson never saw this memorandum. It 



Sweethearts: 103 

was secretly removed in the War Department, and only 
replaced after he had signed the death warrant. 

In vain Annie Surratt, the weeping daughter, flung 
herself on the steps of the White House on the fatal day, 
begging and praying to see the President. She could 
not believe they would allow her mother to be murdered 
in the face of a recommendation of mercy. The fatal 
hour struck at last, and the girl left the White House with 
set eyes and blanched face, muttering incoherent curses. 

The Chief Magistrate sat within, unconscious of the 
hideous tragedy that was being enacted in his name. 
When he discovered the infamy by which he had been 
made the executioner of an innocent woman, he made his 
first demand that Edwin M. Stanton resign from his 
cabinet as Secretary of War. And for the first time in 
the history of America, a cabinet officer waived the ques- 
tion of honour and refused to resign. 

With a shudder and blush of shame, strong men saw 
that day the executioner gather the ropes tightly three 
times around the dress of an innocent American mother 
and bind her ankles with cords. She fainted and sank 
backward upon the attendants, the poor limbs yielding 
at last to the mortal terror of death. But they propped 
her up and sprung the fatal trap. 

A feeling of uncertainty and horror crept over the city 
and the Nation, as rumours of the strange doings of the 
"Bureau of Military Justice," with its secret factory of 
testimony and powers of tampering with verdicts, began 
to find their way in whispered stories among the people. 

Public opinion, however, had as yet no power of ad- 



104 The Clansman 

justment. It was an hour of lapse to tribal insanity. 
Things had gone wrong. The demand for a scapegoat, 
blind, savage, and unreasoning, had not spent itself. The 
Government could do anything as yet, and the people 
would applaud. 

Mrs. Cameron had tried in vain to gain a hearing be- 
fore the President. Each time she was directed to apply 
to Mr. Stanton. She refused to attempt to see him, and 
again turned to Elsie for help. She had learned that the 
same witnesses who had testified against Mrs. Surratt 
were being used to convict Doctor Cameron, and her 
heart was sick with fear. 

"Ask your father," she pleaded, "to write President 
Johnson a letter in my behalf. Whatever his politics, 
he can't be your father and not be good at heart." 

Elsie paled for a moment. It was the one request she 
had dreaded. She thought of her father and Stanton 
with dread. How far he was supporting the Secretary 
of War she could only vaguely guess. He rarely spoke of 
politics to her, much as he loved her. 

"I'll try, Mrs. Cameron," she faltered. "My father 
is in town to-day and takes dinner with us before he leaves 
for Pennsylvania to-night. I'll go at once." 

With fear, and yet boldly, she went straight home to 
present her request. She knew he was a man who 
never cherished small resentments, however cruel and 
implacable might be his public policies. And yet she 
dreaded to put it to the test. 

"Father, I've a very important request to make of 
you," she said gravely. 



Sweethearts 105 

"Very well, my child, you need not be so solemn. What 
is it?" 

"I've some friends in great distress — Mrs. Cameron, of 
South Carolina, and her daughter Margaret." 

"Friends of yours?" he asked with an incredulous 
smile. "Where on earth did you find them?" 

"In the hospital, of course. Mrs. Cameron is not al- 
lowed to see her husband, who has been here in jail for 
over two months. He cannot write to her, nor can he 
receive a letter from her. He is on trial for his life, is ill 
and helpless, and is not allowed to know the charges 
against him, while hired witnesses and detectives have 
broken open his house, searched his papers, and are ran- 
sacking heaven and earth to convict him of a crime of 
which he never dreamed. It's a shame. You don't ap- 
prove of such things, I know? " 

"What's the use of my expressing an opinion when you 
have already settled it? " he answered good-humouredly. 

"You don't approve of such injustice?" 

"Certainly not, my child. Stanton's frantic efforts to 
hang a lot of prominent Southern men for complicity in 
Booth's crime is sheer insanity. Nobody who has any 
sense believes them guilty. As a politician I use popular 
clamour for my purposes, but I am not an idiot. When 
I go gunning, I never use a popgun or hunt small game." 

"Then you will write the President a letter asking that 
they be allowed to see Doctor Cameron?" 

The old man frowned. 

"Think, father, if you were in jail and friendless, and I 
were trying to see you " 



106 The Clansman 

"Tut, tut, my dear, it's not that I am unwilling — I was 
only thinking of the unconscious humour of my making a 
request of the man who at present accidentally occupies 
the White House. Of all the men on earth, this alien 
from the province of Tennessee! But I'll do it for you. 
When did you ever know me to deny my help to a weak 
man or woman in distress?" 

" Never, father. I was sure you would do it," she 
answered warmly. 

He wrote the letter at once and handed it to her. 

She bent and kissed him. 

"I can't tell you how glad I am to know that you have 
no part in such injustice." 

"You should not have believed me such a fool, but I'll 
forgive you for the kiss. Run now with this letter to your 
rebel friends, you little traitor! Wait a minute " 

He shuffled to his feet, placed his hand tenderly on her 
head, and stooped and kissed the shining hair. 

"I wonder if you know how I love you? How I've 
dreamed of your future? I may not see you every day 
as I wish; I'm absorbed in great affairs. But more and 
more I think of you and Phil. I'll have a big surprise 
for you both some day." 

"Your love is all I ask," she answered simply. 

Within an hour, Mrs. Cameron found herself before 
the new President. The letter had opened the door as 
by magic. She poured out her story with impetuous 
eloquence while Mr. Johnson listened in uneasy silence. 
His ruddy face, his hesitating manner, and restless eyes 
were in striking contrast to the conscious power of the 



Sweethearts 107 

tall dark man who had listened so tenderly and sympa- 
thetically to her story of Ben but a few weeks before, f. 

The President asked: 

"Have you seen Mr. Stanton? " 

"I have seen him once," she cried with sudden passion. 
"It is enough. If that man were God on His throne, I 
would swear allegiance to the devil and fight him!" 

The President lifted his eyebrows and his lips twitched 
with a smile: 

" I shouldn't say that your spirits are exactly drooping! 
I'd like to be near and hear you make that remark to the 
distinguished Secretary of War." 

"Will you grant my prayer?" she pleaded. 

"I will consider the matter," he promised evasively. 

Mrs. Cameron's heart sank. 

"Mr. President," she cried bitterly, "I have felt sure 
that I had but to see you face to face and you could not 
deny me. Surely it is but justice that he have the right 
to see his loved ones, to consult with counsel, to know the 
charges against him, and defend his life when attacked in 
his poverty and ruin by all the power of a mighty govern- 
ment? He is feeble and broken in health and suffering 
from wounds received carrying the flag of the Union to 
victory in Mexico. Whatever his errors of judgment in 
this war, it is a shame that a Nation for which he once 
bared his breast in battle should treat him as an outlaw 
without a trial." 

"You must remember, madam," interrupted the 
President, "that these are extraordinary times, and that 
popular clamour, however unjust, will make itself felt 



108 The Clansman 

and must be heeded by those in power. I am sorry for 
you, and I trust it may be possible for me to grant your 
request." 

"But I wish it now," she urged. "He sends me word 
I must go home. I can't leave without seeing him. I 
will die first." 
" She drew closer and continued in throbbing tones: 

"Mr. President, you are a native Carolinian — you are 
of Scotch Covenanter blood. You are of my own people 
of the great past, whose tears and sufferings are our com- 
mon glory and birthright. Come, you must hear me — 
I will take no denial. Give me now the order to see my 
husband!" 

The President hesitated, struggling with deep emotion, 
called his secretary, and gave the order. 

As she hurried away with Elsie, who insisted on accom- 
panying her to the jail door, the girl said: 

"Mrs. Cameron, I fear you are without money. You 
must let me help you until you can return it." 

"You are the dearest little heart I've met in all the 
world, I think sometimes," said the older woman, looking 
at her tenderly. "I wonder how I can ever pay you for 
half you've done already." 

"The doing of it has been its own reward," was the 
soft reply. "May I help you?" 

"If I need it, yes. But I trust it will not be necessary. 
I still have a little store of gold Doctor Cameron was wise 
enough to hoard during the war. I brought half of it 
with me when I left home, and we buried the rest. I hope 
to find it on my return. And if we can save the twenty 



Sweethearts 109 

bales of cotton we have hidden we shall be relieved of 
want." 

"I'm ashamed of my country when I think of such 
ignoble methods as have been used against Doctor 
Cameron. My father is indignant, too." 

The last sentence Elsie spoke with eager girlish 
pride. 

"I am very grateful to your father for his letter. I am 
sorry he has left the city before I could meet and thank 
him personally. You must tell him for me." 

At the jail the order of the President was not honoured 
for three hours, and Mrs. Cameron paced the street in 
angry impatience at first and then in dull despair. 

"Do you think that man Stanton would dare defy the 
President?" she asked anxiously. 

"No," said Elsie, "but he is delaying as long as possible 
as an act of petty tyranny." 

At last the messenger arrived from the War Depart- 
ment permitting an order of the Chief Magistrate of the 
nation, the Commander-in-Chief of its Army and Navy, 
to be executed. 

The grated door swung on its heavy hinges, and the 
wife and mother lay sobbing in the arms of the lover of 
her youth. 

For two hours they poured into each other's hearts the 
story of their sorrows and struggles during the six fateful 
montLo that had passed. When she would return from 
every theme back to his danger, he would laugh her fears 
to scorn. 

"Nonsense, my dear, I'm as innocent as a babe. Mr. 



110 The Clansman 

Davis was suffering from erysipelas, and I kept him in 
my house that night to relieve his pain. It will all blow 
over. I'm happy now that I have seen you. Ben will 
be up in a few days You must return at once. You 
have no idea of the wild chaos at home. I left Jake in 
charge. I have implicit faith in him, but there's no tell- 
ing what may happen. I will not spend another moment 
in peace until you go." 

The proud old man spoke of his own danger with easy 
assurance. He was absolutely certain, since the day of 
Mrs. Surratt's execution, that he would be railroaded to 
the gallows by the same methods. He had long looked 
on the end with indifference, and had ceased to desire to 
live except to see his loved ones again. 

In vain she warned him of danger. 

"My peril is nothing, my love," he answered quietly. 
" At home, the horrors of a servile reign of terror have be- 
come a reality. These prison walls do not interest me. 
My heart is with our stricken people. You must go home. 
Our neighbour, Mr. Lenoir, is slowly dying. His wife will 
always be a child. Little Marion is older and more self- 
reliant. I feel as if they are our own children. There 
are so many who need us. They have always looked 
to me for guidance and help. You can do more for them 
than any one else. My calling is to heal others. You 
have always helped me. Do now as I ask you." 

At last she consented to leave for Piedmont on 'the fol- 
lowing day, and he smiled. 

"Kiss Ben and Margaret for me and tell them that I'll 
be with them soon," he said cheerily. He meant in the 



Sweethearts 111 

spirit, not the flesh. Not the faintest hope of life even 
flickered in his mind. 

In the last farewell embrace a faint tremor of the soul, 
half sigh, half groan, escaped his lips, and he drew her 
again to his breast, whispering: 

"Always my sweetheart, good, beautiful, brave, and 
true!" 



CHAPTER III 

The Joy of Living 

WITHIN two weeks after the departure of Mrs. 
Cameron and Margaret, the wounded soldier 
had left the hospital with Elsie's hand resting 
on his arm and her keen eyes watching his faltering steps. 
She had promised Margaret to take her place until he 
was strong again. She was afraid to ask herself the 
meaning of the songs that were welling up from the depth 
of her own soul. She told herself again and again that 
she was fu lfilli ng her ideal of unselfish human service. 

Ben's recovery was rapid, and he soon began to give 
evidence of his boundless joy in the mere fact of life. 

He utterly refused to believe his father in danger. 

"What, my dad a conspirator, an assassin!" he cried, 
with a laugh. "Why, he wouldn't kill a flea without 
apologising to it. And as for plots and dark secrets, 
he never had a secret in his life and couldn't keep one 
if he had it. My mother keeps all the family secrets. 
Crime couldn't stick to him any more than dirty water to 
a duck's back!" 

"But we must secure his release on parole, that he may 
defend himself." 

"Of course. But we won't cross any bridges till we 
come to them. I never saw things so bad they couldn't 



The Joy of Living 113 

be worse. Just think what I've been through. The 
war's over. Don't worry." 

He looked at her tenderly. 

" Get that banjo and play c Get out of the Wilderness ! '" 

His spirit was contagious and his good humour resist- 
less. Elsie spent the days of his convalescence in an un- 
conscious glow of pleasure in his companionship. His 
handsome boyish face, his bearing, his whole personality, 
invited frankness and intimacy. It was a divine gift, this 
magnetism, the subtle meeting of quick intelligence, tact, 
and sympathy. His voice was tender and penetrating, 
with soft caresses in its tones. His vision of life was large 
and generous, with a splendid carelessness about little 
things that didn't count. Each day Elsie saw new and 
striking traits of his character which drew her. 

"What will we do if Stanton arrests you one of these 
fine days? " she asked him one day. 

"Afraid they'll nab me for something?" he exclaimed. 
"Well, that is a joke. Don't you worry. The Yankees 
know who to fool with. I licked 'em too many times for 
them to bother me any more." 

"I was under the impression that you got licked," Elsie 
observed. 

"Don't you believe it. We wore ourselves out whip- 
ping the other fellows." 

Elsie smiled, took up the banjo, and asked him to sing 
while she played. 

She had no idea that'he could sing, yet to her surprise 
he sang his camp songs boldly, tenderly, and with deep, 
expressive feeling. 



114 The Clansman 

As the girl listened, the memory of the horrible hours of 
suspense she had spent with his mother when his uncon- 
scious life hung on a thread came trooping back into her 
heart and a tear dimmed her eyes. 

And he began to look at her with a new wonder and joy 
slowly growing in his soul. 



CHAPTER IV 

Hidden Treasure 

BEN had spent a month of vain effort to secure his 
father's release. He had succeeded in obtaining 
for him a removal to more comfortable quarters, 
books to read, and the privilege of a daily walk under 
guard and parole. The doctor's genial temper, the wide 
range of his knowledge, the charm of his personality, and 
his heroism in suffering had captivated the surgeons who 
attended him and made friends of every jailer and guard. 

Elsie was now using all her woman's wit to secure a 
copy of the charges against him as formulated by the 
Judge Advocate General, who, in defiance of civil law, 
still claimed control of these cases. 

To the boy's sanguine temperament the whole proceed- 
ing had been a huge farce from the beginning, and at the 
last interview with his father he had literally laughed him 
into good humour. 

"Look here, pa," he cried. "I believe you're trying 
to slip off and leave us in this mess. It's not fair. It's 
easy to die." 

"Who said I was going to die?" 

" I heard you were trying to crawl out that way." 

"Well, it's a mistake. I'm going to live just for the 
fun of disappointing my enemies and to keep you com- 
"5 



116 The Clansman 

pany. But you'd better get hold of a copy of these 
charges against me — if you don't want me to escape." 

"It's a funny world if a man can be condemned to 
death without any information on the subject. " 

"My son, we are now in the hands of the revolutionists, 
army sutlers, contractors, and adventurers. The Nation 
will touch the lowest tide-mud of its degradation within 
the next few years. No man can predict the end." 

"Oh, go 'long! " said Ben. "You've got jail cobwebs in 
your eyes." 

"I'm depending on you." 

"I'll pull you through if you don't lie down on me and 
die to get out of trouble. You know you can die if you 
try hard enough." 

"I promise you, my boy," he said with a laugh. 

"Then I'll let you read this letter from home," Ben 
said, suddenly thrusting it before him. 

The doctor's hand trembled a little as he put on his 
glasses and read: 

My Dear Boy: I cannot tell you how much good your bright 
letters have done us. It's like opening the window and letting 
in the sunlight while fresh breezes blow through one's soul. 

Margaret and I have had stirring times. I send you enclosed 
an order for the last dollar of money we have left. You must 
hoard it. Make it last until your father is safe at home. I 
dare not leave it here. Nothing is safe. Every piece of silver 
and everything that could be carried has been stolen since we 
returned. 

Uncle Aleck betrayed the place Jake had hidden our twenty 
precious bales of cotton. The war is long since over, but the 
"Treasury Agent "declared them confiscated, and then offered 
to relieve us of his order if we gave him five bales, each worth 
three hundred dollars in gold. I agreed, and within a week 



Hidden Treasure 117 

another thief came and declared the other fifteen bales confis- 
cated. They steal it, and the Government never gets a cent. 
We dared not try to sell it in open market, as every bale 
exposed for sale is "confiscated" at once. 

No crop was planted this summer. The negroes are all 
drawing rations at the Freedman's Bureau. 

We have turned our house into a hotel, and our table has 
become famous. Margaret is a treasure. She has learned to 
do everything. We tried to raise a crop on the farm when we 
came home, but the negroes stopped work. The Agent of the 
Bureau came to us and said he could send them back for a fee 
of $50. We paid it, and they worked a week. We found it 
easier to run a hotel. We hope to start the farm next year. 

Our new minister at the Presbyterian Church is young, 
handsome, and eloquent — Rev. Hugh McAlpin. 

Mr. Lenoir died last week — but his end was so beautiful, 
our tears were half joy. He talked incessantly of your father 
and how the country missed him. He seemed much better 
the day before the end came, and we took him for a little drive 
to Lovers ' Leap. It was there, sixteen years ago, he made love 
to Jeannie. When we propped him up on the rustic seat, and 
he looked out over the cliff and the river below, I have never 
seen a face so transfigured with peace and joy. 

"What a beautiful world it is, my dears!" he exclaimed, 
taking Jeannie and Marion both by the hand. 

They began to cry, and he said with a smile: 

"Come now — do you love me?" 

And they covered his hands with kisses. 

"Well, then you must promise me two things faithfully 
here, with Mrs. Cameron to witness!" 

"We promise," they both said in a breath. 

"That when I fall asleep, not one -thread of black shall ever 
cloud the sunlight of our little home, that you will never wear 
it, and that you will show your love for me by making my 
flowers grow richer, that you will keep my memory green by 
always being as beautiful as you are to-day, and make this old 
world a sweeter place to live in. I wish you, Jeannie, my 
mate, to keep on making the young people glad. Don't let 
their joys be less even for a month because I have laid down 
to rest. Let them sing and dance ■" 

"Oh, Papa!" cried Marion. 

" Certainly, my little serious beauty — I'll not be far away, 



118 The Clansman 

I'll be near and breathe my songs into their hearts, and into 
yours — you both promise?" 

"Yes, yes!" they both cried. 

As we drove back through the woods, he smiled tenderly 
and said to me: 

"My neighbour, Doctor Cameron, pays taxes on these 
woods, but I own them! Their sighing boughs, stirred by the 
breezes, have played for me oratorios grander than all the 
scores of human genius. I'll hear the Choir Invisible play 
them when I sleep." 

He died that night suddenly. With his last breath he sighed: 

"Draw the curtains and let me see again the moonlit woods ! " 

They are trying to carry out his wishes. I found they had 
nothing to eat, and that he had really died from insufficient 
nourishment — a polite expression meaning starvation. I've 
divided half our little store with them and send the rest to 
you. I think Marion more and more the incarnate soul of 
her father. I feel as if they are both my children. 

My little grandchick, Hugh, is the sweetest youngster alive. 
He was a wee thing when you left. Mrs. Lenoir kept him 
when they arrested your father. He is so much like your 
brother Hugh I feel as if he has come to life again. You should 
hear him say grace, so solemnly and tenderly, we can't help 
crying. He made it up himself. This is what he says at 
every meal: 

"God, please give my grandpa something good to eat in 
jail, keep him well, don't let the pains hurt him any more, and 
bring him home to me quick, for Jesus' sake. Amen." 

I never knew before how the people loved the doctor, nor 
how dependent they were on him for help and guidance. Men, 
both white and coloured, come here every day to ask about 
him. Some of them come from far up in the mountains. 

God alone knows how lonely our home and the world has 
seemed without him. They say that those who love and live 
the close sweet home life for years grow alike in soul and body, 
in tastes, ways, and habits. I find it so. People have told me 
that your father and I are more alike than brother and sister 
of the same blood. In spirit I'm sure it's true. I know you 
love him and that you will leave nothing undone for his health 
and safety. Tell him that my only cure for loneliness in his 
absence is my fight to keep the wolf from the door, and save 
our home against his coming. Lovingly, your Mother. 



Hidden Treasure 119 

'.j When the doctor had finished the reading, he looked 
out the window of the jail at the shining dome of the 
Capitol for a moment in silence. 

"Do you know, my boy, that you have the heritage of 
royal blood? You are the child of a wonderful mother. 
I'm ashamed when I think of the helpless stupor under 
which I have given up, and then remember the deathless 
courage with which she has braved it all — the loss of her 
boys, her property, your troubles and mine. She has 
faced the world alone like a wounded lioness standing 
over her cubs. And now she turns her home into a hotel, 
and begins life in a strange new world without one doubt 
of her success. The South is yet rich even in its ruin." 

"Then you'll fight and go back to her with me? " 

"Yes, never fear." 
, "Good! You see, we're so poor now, pa, you're lucky 
to be saving a board bill here. I'd ' conspire ' myself and 
come in with you but for the fact it would hamper me a 
little in helping you." 



CHAPTER V 
Across the Chasm 

WHEN Ben had fully recovered and his father's 
case looked hopeful, Elsie turned to her study 
of music, and the Southern boy suddenly 
waked to the fact that the great mystery of life was upon 
him. He was in love at last — genuinely, deeply, without 
one reservation. He had from habit flirted in a harmless 
way with every girl he knew. He left home with little 
Marion Lenoir's girlish kiss warm on his lips. He had 
made love to many a pretty girl in old Virginia as the red 
tide of war had ebbed and flowed around Stuart's magic 
camps. 

But now the great hour of the soul had struck. No 
sooner had he dropped the first tender words that might 
have their double meaning, feeling his way cautiously 
toward her, than she had placed a gulf of dignity between 
them, and attempted to cut every tie that bound her life 
to his. 

It had been so sudden it took his breath away. Could 
he win her? The word "fail" had never been in his vo- 
cabulary. It had never run in the speech of his people. 

Yes, he would win if it was the only thing he did in 
this world. And forthwith he set about it. Life took on 
new meaning and new glory. What mattered war or 



Across the Chasm 121 

wounds, pain or poverty, jails and revolutions — it was 
the dawn of life ! 

He sent her a flower every day and pinned one just like 
it on his coat. And every night found him seated by her 
side. She greeted him cordially, but the gulf yawned 
between them. His courtesy and self-control struck her 
with surprise and admiration. In the face of her coldness 
he carried about him an air of smiling deference and 
gallantry. 

She finally told him of her determination to go to 
New York to pursue her studies until Phil had finished 
the term of his enlistment in his regiment, which had 
been ordered on permanent duty in the West. 

He laughed with his eyes at this announcement, blink- 
ing the lashes rapidly without moving his lips. It was a 
peculiar habit of his when deeply moved by a sudden 
thought. It had flashed over him like lightning that she 
was trying to get away from him. She would not do 
that unless she cared. 

"When are you going?" he asked quietly. 

"Day after to-morrow." 

"Then you will give me one afternoon for a sail on the 
river to say good-bye and thank you for what you have 
done for me and mine? " 

She hesitated, laughed, and refused. 

"To-morrow at four o'clock I'll call for you," he said 
firmly. "If there's no wind, we can drift with the 
tide." 

"I will not have time to go." 

"Promptly at four," he repeated as he left. 



122 The Clansman 

Ben spent hours that night weighing the question of 
how far he should dare to speak his love. It had been 
such an easy thing before. Now it seemed a question of 
life and death. Twice the magic words had been on his 
lips, and each time something in her manner chilled him 
into silence. 

Was she cold and incapable of love? No; this man- 
ner of the North was on the surface. He knew that 
deep down within her nature lay banked and smouldering 
fires of passion for the one man whose breath could stir 
it into flame. He felt this all the keener now that the 
spell of her companionship and the sweet intimacy of her 
daily ministry to him had been broken. The memory 
of little movements of her petite figure, the glance of her 
warm amber eyes, and the touch of her hand — all had 
their tongues of revelation to his eager spirit. 

He found her ready at four o'clock. 

"You see I decided to go after all," she said. 

"Yes, I knew you would," he answered. 

She was dressed in a simple suit of navy-blue cloth cut 
V-shaped at the throat, showing the graceful lines of her 
exquisite neck as it melted into the plump shoulders. 
She had scorned hoop skirts. 

He admired her for this, and yet it made him uneasy. 
A woman who could defy an edict of fashion was a new 
thing under the sun, and it scared him. 

They were seated in the little sailboat now, drifting 
out with the tide. It was a perfect day in October, one 
of those matchless days of Indian summer in the Virginia 
climate when an infinite peace and vast brooding silence 



Across the Chasm 123 

fill the earth and sky until one feels that words are a 
sacrilege. 

Neither of them spoke for minutes, and his heart 
grew bold in the stillness. No girl could be still who 
was unmoved. 

She was seated just in front of him on the left, with 
her hand idly rippling the surface of the silvery waters, 
gazing at the wooded cliff on the river banks clothed 
now in their gorgeous robes of yellow, purple, scarlet, 
and gold. 

The soft strains of distant music came from a band in 
the fort, and her hand in the rippling water seemed its 
accompaniment. 

Ben was conscious only of her presence. Every sight 
and sound of nature seemed to be blended in her presence. 
Never in all his life had he seen anything so delicately 
beautiful as the ripe rose colour of her cheeks, and all the 
tints of autumn's glory seemed to melt into the gold of 
her hair. 

And those eyes he felt that God had never set in such 
a face before — rich amber, warm and glowing, big and 
candid, courageous and truthful. 

"Are you dead again?" she asked demurely. 

"Well, as the Irishman said in answer to his mate's 
question when he fell off the house, 'not dead — but 
spacheless.' " 

He was quick to see the opening her question with its 
memories had made, and took advantage of it. 

"Look here, Miss Elsie, you're too honest, independ- 
ent, and candid to play hide-and-seek with me. I want 



124 The Clansman 

to ask you a plain question. You've been trying to pick 
a quarrel of late. What have I done? " 

"Nothing. It has simply come to me that our lives 
are far apart. The gulf between us is real and very deep. 
Your father was but yesterday a slaveholder " 

Ben grinned: 

"Yes, your slave- trading grandfather sold them to us 
the day before." 

Elsie blushed and bristled for a fight. 

"You won't mind if I give you a few lessons in history, 
will you?" Ben asked softly. 

"Not in the least. I didn't know that Southerners 
studied history," she answered, with a toss of her head. 

"We made a specialty of the history of slavery, at least. 
I had a dear old teacher at home who fairly blazed with 
light on this subject. He is one of the best-read men in 
America. He happens to be in jail just now. But I 
haven't forgotten — I know it by heart." 

"I am waiting for light," she interrupted cynically. 

"The South is no more to blame for negro slavery 
than the North. Our slaves were stolen from Africa 
by Yankee skippers. When a slaver arrived at Boston, 
your pious Puritan clergyman offered public prayer of 
thanks that 'A gracious and overruling Providence had 
been pleased to bring to this land of freedom another 
cargo of benighted heathen to enjoy the blessings of a 
gospel dispensation ' " 

She looked at him with angry incredulity and cried: 

"Goon." 

"Twenty-three times the Legislature of Virginia passed 



Across the Chasm 125 

acts against the importation of slaves, which the king 
vetoed on petition of the Massachusetts slave traders. 
Jefferson made these acts of the king one of the grievances 
of the Declaration of Independence, but a Massachusetts 
member succeeded in striking it out. The Southern men 
in the convention which framed the Constitution put into 
it a clause abolishing the slave trade, but the Massachu- 
setts men succeeded in adding a clause extending the 
trade twenty years " 

He smiled and paused. 

" Go on," she said, with impatience. 

"In Colonial days a negro woman was publicly burned 
to death in Boston. The first Abolition paper was pub- 
lished in Tennessee by Embree. Benjamin Lundy, his 
successor, could not find a single Abolitionist in Boston. 
In 1828 over half the people of Tennessee favoured Aboli- 
tion. At this time there were one hundred and forty 
Abolition Societies in America — one hundred and three in 
the South, and not one in Massachusetts. It was not 
until 1836 that Massachusetts led in Abolition — not until 
all her own slaves had been sold to us at a profit and the 
slave trade had been destroyed " 

She looked at Ben with anger for a moment and met his 
tantalizing look of good humour. 

" Can you stand any more? " 

"Certainly, I enjoy it." 

"I'm just breaking down the barriers — so to speak," 
he said, with the laughter still lurking in his eyes, as he 
looked steadily ahead. 

"By all means go on," she said soberly. "I thought 



126 The^Clansman 

at first you were trying to tease me. I see that you are in 
earnest." 

"Never more so. This is about the only little path of 
history I'm at home in — I love to show off in it. I heard 
a cheerful idiot say the other day that your father meant 
to carry the civilization of Massachusetts to the Rio 
Grande until we had a Democracy in America. I smiled. 
While Massachusetts was enforcing laws about the dress 
of the rich and the poor, founding a church with a whip- 
ping-post, jail, and gibbet, and limiting the right to vote 
to a church membership fixed by pew rents, Carolina was 
the home of freedom where first the equal rights of men 
were proclaimed. New England people worth less than 
one thousand dollars were prohibited by law from wearing 
the garb of a gentleman, gold or silver lace, buttons on 
the knees, or to walk in great boots, or their women to 
wear silk or scarfs, while the Quakers, Maryland Catho- 
lics, Baptists, and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians were every- 
where in the South the heralds of man's equality before 
the law." 

"But barring our ancestors, I have some things against 
the men of this generation." 

"Have I, too, sinned and come short?" he asked with 
mock gravity. 

"Our ideals of life are far apart," she firmly declared. 

"What ails my ideal?" 

"Your egotism, for one thing. The air with which you 
calmly select what pleases your fancy. Northern men 
are bad enough — the insolence of a Southerner is beyond 
words!" 





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LILLIAN GISH AS ELSIE, AND THE SENTINEL. 
' The Birth of a Nation? 1 



Across the Chasm t 127 

"You don't say so!" cried Ben, bursting into a hearty- 
laugh. "Isn't your aunt, Mrs. Farnham, the president 
of a club? " 

"Yes, and she is a very brilliant woman." 

"Enlighten me further." 

"I deny your heaven-born male kingship. The lord 
of creation is after all a very inferior animal — nearer the 
brute creation, weaker in infancy, shorter lived, more im- 
perfectly developed, given to fighting, and addicted to 
idiocy. I never saw a female idiot in my life — did you? " 

"Come to think of it, I never did," acknowledged Ben 
with comic gravity. "What else?" 

"Isn't that enough?" 

"It's nothing. I agree with everything you say, but it 
is irrelevant. I'm studying law, you know." 

"I have a personality of my own. You and your kind 
assume the right to absorb all lesser lights." 

"Certainly, I'm a man." 

"I don't care to be absorbed by a mere man." 

"Don't wish to be protected, sheltered, and cared for? " 

"I dream of a life that shall be larger than the four 
walls of a home. I have never gone into hysterics over 
the idea of becoming a cook and housekeeper without 
wages, and snuffing my life out while another grows, ex- 
pands, and claims the lordship of the world. I can sing. 
My voice is to me what eloquence is to man. My ideal 
is an intellectual companion who will inspire and lead me 
to develop all that I feel within to its highest reach." 

She paused a moment and looked defiantly into Ben's 
brown eyes, about which a smile was constantly playing. 



128 The Clansman 

He looked away, and again the river echoed with his con- 
tagious laughter. She had to join in spite of herself. 
He laughed with boyish gayety. It danced in his eyes, 
and gave spring to every movement of his slender wiry 
body. She felt its contagion enfold her. 

His laughter melted into a song. In a voice vibrant 
with joy he sang, "If you get there before I do, tell 'em 
I'mcomin' too!" 

As Elsie listened, her anger grew as she recalled the 
amazing folly that had induced her to tell the secret 
feelings of her inmost soul to this man almost a stranger. 
Whence came this miracle of influence about him, this 
gift of intimacy? She felt a shock as if she had been 
immodest. She was in an agony of doubt as to 
what he was thinking of her, and dreaded to meet his 
gaze. 

And yet, when he turned toward her, his whole being a 
smiling compound of dark Southern blood and bone and 
fire, at the sound of his voice all doubt and questioning 
melted. 

"Do you know," he said earnestly, "that you are the 
funniest, most charming girl I ever met?" 

"Thanks. I've heard your experience has been large 
for one of your age." 

Ben's eyes danced. 

"Perhaps, yes. You appeal to things in me that I 
didn't know were there — to all the senses of body and soul 
at once. Your strength of mind, with its conceits, and 
your quick little temper seem so odd and out of place, 
clothed in the gentleness of your beauty." 



Across the Chasm 129 

"I was never more serious in my life. There are other 
things more personal about you that I do not like." 

"What?" 

"Your cavalier habits." 

"Cavalier fiddlesticks. There are no Cavaliers in my 
country. We are all Covenanter and Huguenot folks. 
The idea that Southern boys are lazy loafing dreamers is a 
myth. I was raised on the catechism." 

"You love to fish and hunt and frolic — you flirt with 
every girl you meet, and you drink sometimes. I often 
feel that you are cruel and that I do not know you." 

Ben's face grew serious, and the red scar in the edge 
of his hair suddenly became livid with the rush of blood. 

"Perhaps I don't mean that you shall know all yet," he 
said slowly. "My ideal of a man is one that leads, 
charms, dominates, and yet eludes. I confess that I'm 
close kin to an angel and a devil, and that I await a 
woman's hand to lead me into the ways of peace and life." 

The spiritual earnestness of the girl was quick to catch 
the subtle appeal of his last words. His broad, high fore- 
head, straight, masterly nose, with its mobile nostrils, 
seemed to her very manly at just that moment and very 
appealing. A soft answer was on her lips. 

He saw it, and leaned toward her in impulsive tender- 
ness. A timid look on her face caused him to sink back in 
silence. 

They had now drifted near the city. The sun was 
slowly sinking in a smother of fiery splendour that 
mirrored its changing hues in the still water. The hush 
of the harvest fullness of autumn life was over all nature. 



130 The Clansman 

They passed a camp of soldiers and then a big hospital on 
the banks above. A gun flashed from the hill, and the 
flag dropped from its staff. 

The girl's eyes lingered on the flower in his coat a 
moment and then on the red scar in the edge of his dark 
hair, and somehow the difference between them seemed 
to melt into the falling twilight. Only his nearness was 
real. Again a strange joy held her. 

He threw her a look of tenderness, and she began to 
tremble. A sea gull poised a moment above them and 
broke into a laugh. 

Bending nearer, he gently took her hand, and said: 

"I love you!" 

A sob caught her breath and she buried her face on her 
arm. f 

"I am for you, and you are for me. Why beat your 
wings against the thing that is and must be? What else 
matters? With all my sins and faults my land is yours — 
a land of sunshine, eternal harvests, and everlasting song, 
old-fashioned and provincial perhaps, but kind and hos- 
pitable. Around its humblest cottage song birds live and 
mate and nest and never leave. The winged ones of your 
own cold fields have heard their call, and the sky to-night 
will echo with their chatter as they hurry southward. 
Elsie, my own, I too have called — come; I love you! " 

She lifted her face to him full of tender spiritual charm, 
her eyes burning their passionate answer. 

He bent and kissed her. 

" Say it ! Say it ! " he whispered. 

" I love you ! " she sighed. 



CHAPTER VI | 
The Gauge or Battle 

THE day of the first meeting of the National Con- 
gress after the war was one of intense excitement. 
The galleries of the House were packed. Elsie 
was there with Ben in a fever of secret anxiety lest the 
stirring drama should cloud her own life. She watched 
her father limp to his seat with every eye fixed on him. 

The President had pursued with persistence the plan of 
Lincoln for the immediate restoration of the Union. 
Would Congress follow the lead of the President or chal- 
lenge him to mortal combat? 

Civil governments had been restored in all the Southern 
States, with men of the highest ability chosen as governors 
and lawmakers. Their legislatures had unanimously 
voted for the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution 
abohshing slavery, and elected senators and representa- 
tives to Congress. Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, 
had declared the new amendment a part of the organic 
law of the Nation by the vote of these States. 

General Grant went to the South to report its condition 
and boldly declared: 

"I am satisfied that the mass of thinking people of the 
South accept the situation in good faith. Slavery and 
secession they regard as settled forever by the highest 
131 



132 The Clansman 

known tribunal, and consider this decision a fortunate one 
for the whole country." 

Would the Southerners be allowed to enter? 

Amid breathless silence the clerk rose to call the roll of 
members-elect. Every ear was bent to hear the name of 
the first Southern man. Not one was called! The Mas- 
ter had spoken. His clerk knew how to play his part. 

The next business of the House was to receive the 
message of the Chief Magistrate of the Nation. 

The message came, but not from the White House. It 
came from the seat of the Great Commoner. 

As the first thrill of excitement over the challenge to the 
President slowly subsided, Stoneman rose, planted his 
big club foot in the middle of the aisle, and delivered to 
Congress the word of its new master. 

It was Ben's first view of the man of all the world just 
now of most interest. From his position he could see his 
full face and figure. 

He began speaking in a careless, desultory way. His 
tone was loud yet not declamatory, at first in a grum- 
bling, grandfatherly, half -humorous, querulous accent that 
riveted every ear instantly. A sort of drollery of a con- 
tagious kind haunted it. Here and there a member tit- 
tered in expectation of a flash of wit. 

His figure was taller than the average, slightly bent, 
with a dignity which suggested reserve power and con- 
tempt for his audience. One knew instinctively that 
back of the boldest word this man might say there was a 
bolder unspoken word he had chosen not to speak. 

His limbs were long, and their movements slow, yet 



The Gauge of Battle 133 

nervous as from some internal fiery force. His hands 
were big and ugly, and always in ungraceful fumbling 
motion as though a separate soul dwelt within them. 

The heaped-up curly profusion of his brown wig gave a 
weird impression to the spread of his mobile features. 
His eagle-beaked nose had three distinct lines and angles. 
His chin was broad and bold, and his brows beetling and 
projecting. His mouth was wide, marked, and grim; 
when opened, deep and cavernous; when closed, it seemed 
to snap so tightly that the lower lip protruded. 

Of all his make-up, his eye was the most fascinating, 
and it held Ben spellbound. It could thrill to the deepest 
fibre of the soul that looked into it, yet it did not gleam. 
It could dominate, awe, and confound, yet it seemed to 
have no colour or fire. He could easily see it across the 
vast hall from the galleries, yet it was not large. Two 
bold, colourless dagger-points of light they seemed. As he 
grew excited, they darkened as if passing under a cloud. 

A sudden sweep of his huge apelike arm in an angular 
gesture, and the drollery and carelessness of his voice were 
riven from it as by a bolt of lightning. 

He was driving home his message now in brutal frank- 
ness. Yet in the height of his fiercest invective he never 
seemed to strengthen himself or call on his resources. In 
its climax he was careless, conscious of power, and con- 
temptuous of results, as though as a gambler he had 
staked and lost all and in the moment of losing suddenly 
become the master of those who had beaten him. 

His speech never once bent to persuade or convince. 
He meant to brain the opposition with a single blow, and 



134 The Clansman 

hie did it. For he suddenly took the breath from his foes 
by shouting in their faces the hidden motive of which they 
were hoping to accuse him! 

"Admit these Southern Representatives," he cried, 
"and with the Democrats elected from the North, within 
one term they will have a majority in Congress and the 
Electoral College. The supremacy of our party's life is 
at stake. The man who dares palter with such a measure 
is a rebel, a traitor to his party and his people." 

A cheer burst from his henchmen, and his foes sat in 
dazed stupor at his audacity. He moved the appoint- 
ment of a "Committee on Reconstruction" to whom the 
entire government of the "conquered provinces of the 
South" should be committed, and to whom all credentials 
of their pretended representatives should be referred. 

He sat down as the Speaker put his motion, declared 
it carried, and quickly announced the names of this Im- 
perial Committee with the Hon. Austin Stoneman as its 
chairman. 

He then permitted the message of the President of the 
United States to be read by his clerk. 

"Well, upon my soul," said Ben, taking a deep breath 
and looking at Elsie, "he's the whole thing, isn't he?" 

The girl smiled with pride. 

"Yes; he is a genius. He was born to command and 
yet never could resist the cry of a child or the plea of a 
woman. He hates, but he hates ideas and systems. He 
makes threats, yet when he meets the man who stands 
for all he hates he falls in love with his enemy." 

"Then there's hope for me?" 



The Gauge of Battle 135 

"Yes, but I must be the judge of the time to speak." 

"Well, if he looks at me as he did once to-day, you may 
have to do the speaking also." 

"You will like him when you know him. He is one 
of the greatest men in America." 

"At least he's the father of the greatest girl in the 
world, which is far more important." 

"I wonder if you know how important?" she asked 
seriously. "He is the apple of my eye. His bitter 
words, his cynicism and sarcasm, are all on the surface — 
masks that hide a great sensitive spirit. You can't know 
with what brooding tenderness I have always loved and 
worshipped him. I will never marry against his wishes." 

"I hope he and I will always be good friends," said- 
Ben doubtfully. 

"You must," she replied, eagerly pressing his hand. 



CHAPTER Vn 
A Woman Laughs 

EACH day the conflict waxed warmer between 
the President and the Commoner. 
The first bill sent to the White House to Afri- 
canize the "conquered provinces" the President vetoed 
in a message of such logic, dignity, and power, the old 
leader found to his amazement it was impossible to rally 
the two-thirds majority to pass it over his head. 

At first, all had gone as planned. Lynch and Howie 
brought to him a report on " Southern Atrocities," se- 
cured through the councils of the secret oath-bound 
Union League, which had destroyed the impression of 
General Grant's words and prepared his followers for 
blind submission to his Committee. 

Yet the rally of a group of men in defence of the Con- 
stitution had given the President unexpected strength. 

Stoneman saw that he must hold his hand on the throat 
of the South and fight another campaign. Howie and 
Lynch furnished the publication committee of the Union 
League the matter, and they printed four million five 
hundred thousand pamphlets on " Southern Atrocities." 

The Northern States were hostile to negro suffrage, the 
first step of his revolutionary programme, and not a dozen 
men in Congress had yet dared to favour it. Ohio, Mich- 
136 



A Woman Laughs 137 

igan, New York, and Kansas had rejected it by overwhelm- 
ing majorities. But he could appeal to their passions and 
prejudices against the "Barbarism" of the South. It 
would work like magic. When he had the South where 
he wanted it, he would turn and ram negro suffrage and 
negro equality down the throats of the reluctant North. 

His energies were now bent to prevent any effective 
legislation in Congress until his strength should be om- 
nipotent. 

A cloud disturbed the sky for a moment in the Senate. 
John Sherman, of Ohio, began to loom on the horizon as 
a constructive statesman, and without consulting him 
was quietly forcing over Sumner's classic oratory a Re- 
construction Bill restoring the Southern States to the 
Union on the basis of Lincoln's plan, with no provision 
for interference with the suffrage. It had gone to its. last 
reading, and the final vote was pending. 

The house was in session at 3 a. m., waiting in feverish 
anxiety the outcome of this struggle in the Senate. 

Old Stoneman was in his seat, fast asleep from the 
exhaustion of an unbroken session of forty hours. His 
meals he had sent to his desk from the Capitol restaurant. 
He was seventy-four years old and not in good health, 
yet his energy was tireless, his resources inexhaustible, 
and his audacity matchless. 

Sunset Cox, the wag of the House, an opponent but 
personal friend of the old Commoner, passing his seat and 
seeing the great head sunk on his breast in sleep, laughed 
softly and said : 
-"Mr. Speaker!" 



138 The Clansman 

The presiding officer recognized the young Democrat 
with a nod of answering humour and responded: 

"The gentleman from New York." 

"I move you, sir/' said Cox, "that, in view of the ad- 
vanced age and eminent services of the distinguished 
gentleman from Pennsylvania, the Sergeant-at-Arms be 
instructed to furnish him with enough poker chips to 
last till morning!" 

The scattered members who were awake roared with 
laughter, the Speaker pounded furiously with his gavel, 
the sleepy little pages jumped up, rubbing their eyes, 
and ran here and there answering imaginary calls, 
and the whole House waked to its usual noise and con- 
fusion. 

The old man raised his massive head and looked to the 
dooi leading toward the Senate just as Sumner rushed 
through. He had slept for a moment, but his keen in- 
tellect had taken up the fight at precisely the point at 
which he left it. 

Sumner approached his desk rapidly, leaned over, and 
reported his defeat and Sherman's triumph. 

"For God's sake throttle this measure in the House or 
we are ruined!" he exclaimed. 

"Don't be alarmed," replied the cynic. "I'll be here 
with stronger weapons than articulated wind." 

"You have not a moment to lose. The bill is on its 
way to the Speaker's desk, and Sherman's men are going 
to force its passage to-night." 

The Senator returned to the other end of the Capitol 
wrapped in the mantle of his outraged dignity, and in 



A Woman Laughs 139 

thirty minutes the bill was defeated, and the House 
adjourned. 

As the old Commoner hobbled through the door, his 
crooked cane thumping the marble floor, Sumner seized 
and pressed his hand: 

"How did you do it?" 

Stoneman's huge jaws snapped together and his lower 
lip protruded: 

"I sent for Cox and summoned the leader of the 
Democrats. I told them if they would join with me and 
defeat this bill, I'd give them a better one the next session. 
And I will — negro suffrage! The gudgeons swallowed 
it whole!" 

Sumner lifted his eyebrows and wrapped his cloak a 
little closer. 

The Great Commoner laughed as he departed: 

"He is yet too good for this world, but he'll forget it 
before we're done this fight." 

On the steps a beggar asked him for a night's lodging, 
and he tossed him a gold eagle. 

The North, which had rejected negro suffrage for itself 
with scorn, answered Stoneman's fierce appeal to their 
passions against the South, and sent him a delegation of 
radicals eager to do his will. 

So fierce had waxed the combat between the President 
and Congress that the very existence of Stanton's pris- 
oners languishing in jail was forgotten, and the Secretary 
of War himself became a football to be kicked back and 
forth in this conflict of giants. The fact that Andrew 



140 The Clansman 

Johnson was from Tennessee, and had been an old-line 
Democrat before his election as a Unionist with Lincoln, 
was now a fatal weakness in his position. Under Stone- 
man's assaults he became at once an executive without a 
party, and every word of amnesty and pardon he pro- 
claimed for the South in accordance with Lincoln's plan 
was denounced as the act of a renegade courting favour 
of traitors and rebels. 

Stanton remained in his cabinet against his wishes to 
insult and defy him, and Stoneman, quick to see the way 
by which the President of the Nation could be degraded 
and made ridiculous, introduced a bill depriving him of 
the power to remove his own cabinet officers. The act 
was not only meant to degrade the President; it was a 
trap set for his ruin. The penalties were so fixed that its 
violation would give specific ground for his trial, impeach- 
ment, and removal from office. 

Again Stoneman passed his first act to reduce the " con- 
quered provinces" of the South to negro rule. 

President Johnson vetoed it with a message of such 
logic in defence of the constitutional rights of the States 
that it failed by one vote to find the two-thirds majority 
needed to become a law without his approval. 

The old Commoner's eyes froze into two dagger-points 
of icy light when this vote was announced. 

With fury he cursed the President, but above all he 
cursed the men of his own party who had faltered. 

As he fumbled his big hands nervously, he growled: 

"If I only had five men of genuine courage in Congress, 
I'd hang the man at the other end of the avenue from the 



A Woman Laughs 141 

porch of the White House! But I haven't got them — 
cowards, dastards, dolts, and snivelling fools " 

His decision was instantly made. He would expel 
enough Democrats from the Senate and the House to 
place his two-thirds majority beyond question. The 
name of the President never passed his lips. He referred 
to him always, even in public debate, as " the man at the 
other end of the avenue," or "the former Governor of 
Tennessee who once threatened rebels — the late lamented 
Andrew Johnson, of blessed memory." 

He ordered the expulsion of the new member of the 
House from Indiana, Daniel W. Voorhees, and the 
new Senator from New Jersey, John P. Stockton. 
This would give him a majority of two thirds composed 
of men who would obey his word without a question. 

Voorhees heard of the edict with indignant wrath. 
He had met Stoneman in the lobbies, where he was 
often the centre of admiring groups of friends. His 
wit and audacity, and, above all, his brutal frankness, 
had won the admiration of the "Tall Sycamore of the 
Wabash." He could not believe such a man would 
be a party to a palpable fraud. He appealed to him 
personally: 

"Look here, Stoneman," the young orator cried with 
wrath, "I appeal to your sense of honour and decency. 
My credentials have been accepted by your own com- 
mittee, and my seat been awarded me. My majority is 
unquestioned. This is a high-handed outrage. You 
cannot permit this crime." 

The old man thrust his deformed foot out before him, 



142 The Clansman 

struck it meditatively with his cane, and looking Voor- 
hees straight in the eye, boldly said: 

"There's nothing the matter with your majority, young 
man. I've no doubt it's all right. Unfortunately, you 
are a Democrat, and happen to be the odd man in the 
way of the two-thirds majority on which the supremacy 
of my party depends. You will have to go. Come back 
some other time. ' ' And he did. 

In the Senate there was a hitch. When the vote was 
taken on the expulsion of Stockton, to the amazement of 
the leader it was a tie. 

He hobbled into the Senate Chamber, with the steel 
point of his cane ringing on the marble flags as though 
he were thrusting it through the vitals of the weakling 
who had sneaked and hedged and trimmed at the crucial 
moment. 

He met Howie at the door. 

"What's the matter in there?" he asked. 

"They're trying to compromise." 

"Compromise — the Devil of American politics," he 
muttered. "But how did the vote fail — it was all fixed 
before the roll-call?" 

"Roman, of Maine, has trouble with his conscience! 
He is paired not to vote on this question with Stockton's 
colleague, who is sick in Trenton. His 'honour' is in- 
volved, and he refuses to break his word." 

"I see," said Stoneman, pulling his bristling brows down 
until his eyes were two beads of white gleaming through 
them. "Tell Wade to summon every member of the party 
in his room immediately and hold the Senate in session." 



A Woman Laughs 143 

When the group of Senators crowded into the Vice- 
president's room the old man faced them leaning on his 
cane and delivered an address of five minutes they never 
forgot. 

His speech had a nameless fascination. The man 
himself with his elemental passions was a wonder. He 
left on public record no speech worth reading, and yet 
these powerful men shrank under his glance. As the 
nostrils of his big three-angled nose dilated, the scream 
of an eagle rang in his voice, his huge ugly hand held 
the crook of his cane with the clutch of a tiger, his 
tongue flew with the hiss of an adder, and his big de- 
formed foot seemed to grip the floor as the claw of a 
beast. 

"The life of a political party, gentlemen," he growled 
in conclusion, "is maintained by a scheme of subterfuges 
in which the moral law cuts no figure. As your leader, I 
know but one law — success. The world is full of fools 
who must have toys with which to play. A belief in poli- 
tics is the favourite delusion of shallow American minds. 
But you and I have no delusions. Your life depends on 
this vote. If any man thinks the abstraction called 
'honour' is involved, let him choose between his honour 
and his life ! I call no names. This issue must be settled 
now before the Senate adjourns. There can be no to- 
morrow. It is life or death. Let the roll be called again 
immediately." 

The grave Senators resumed their seats, and Wade, the 
acting Vice-president, again put the question to Stock- 
ton's expulsion. 



144 The Clansman 

The member from New England sat pale and trembling, 
in his soul the anguish of the mortal combat between his 
Puritan conscience, the iron heritage of centuries, and the 
order of his captain. 

When the Clerk of the Senate called his name, still the 
battle raged. He sat in silence, the whiteness of death 
about his lips, while the clerk at a signal from the Chair 
paused. 

And then a scene the like of which was never known 
in American history! August Senators crowded around 
his desk, begging, shouting, imploring, and demand- 
ing that a fellow Senator break his solemn word of 
honour ! 

For a moment pandemonium reigned. 

"Vote! Vote! Call his name again!" they shouted. 

High above all rang the voice of Charles Sumner, leading 
the wild chorus, crying: 

"Vote! Vote! Vote!" 

The galleries hissed and cheered — the cheers at last 
drowning every hiss. 

Stoneman pushed his way among the mob which sur- 
rounded the badgered Puritan as he attempted to 
retreat into the cloakroom. 

" Will you vote? " he hissed, his eyes flashing poison. 

"My conscience will not permit it," he faltered. 

"To hell with your conscience!" the old leader thun- 
dered. " Go back to your seat, ask the clerk to call your 
name, and vote, or by the living God I'll read you out of 
the party to-night and brand you a snivelling coward, a 
copperhead, a renegade, and traitor I" 



A Woman Laughs 145 

Trembling from head to foot, he staggered back to his 
seat, the cold sweat standing in beads on his forehead, and 
gasped: 

" Call my name ! " 

The shrill voice of the clerk rang out in the stillness like 
the peal of a trumpet: 

"Mr. Roman!" 

And the deed was done. 

A cheer burst from his colleagues, and the roll-call 
proceeded. 

When Stockton's name was reached he sprang to his 
feet, voted for himself, and made a second tie! 

With blank faces they turned to the leader, who ordered 
Charles Sumner to move that the Senator from New 
Jersey be not allowed to answer his name on an issue 
involving his own seat. 

It was carried. Again the roll was called, and Stockton 
expelled by a majority of one. 

In the moment of ominous silence which followed, a 
yellow woman of sleek animal beauty leaned far over the 
gallery rail and laughed aloud. 

The passage of each act of the Revolutionary pro- 
gramme over the veto of the President was now but a 
matter of form. The act to degrade his office by forcing 
him to keep a cabinet officer who daily insulted him, the 
Civil Rights Bill, and the Freedman's Bureau Bill fol- 
lowed in rapid succession. 

Stoneman's crowning Reconstruction Act was passed, 
two years after the war had closed, shattering the Union 
again into fragments, blotting the names of ten great 



146 The Clansman 

Southern States from its roll, and dividing their territory 
into five Military Districts under the control of belted 
satraps. 

When this measure was vetoed by the President, it 
came accompanied by a message whose words will be for- 
ever etched in fire on the darkest page of the Nation's 
life. 

Amid hisses, curses, jeers, and cat-calls, the Clerk of the 
House read its burning words: 

" The power thus given to the commanding officer over the 
people of each district is that of an absolute monarch. His 
mere will is to take the place of law. He may make a crim- 
inal code of his own; he can make it as bloody as any recorded 
in history, or he can reserve the privilege of acting on the 
impulse of his private passions in each case that arises. 

11 Here is a bill of attainer against nine millions of people 
at once. It is based upon an accusation so vague as to be 
scarcely intelligible, and found to be true upon no credible 
evidence. Not one of the nine millions was heard in his 
own defence. The representatives even of the doomed par- 
ties were excluded from all participation in the trial. The 
conviction is to be followed by the most ignominious punish- 
ment ever inflicted on large masses of men. It disfranchises 
them by hundreds of thousands and degrades them all — 
even those who are admitted to be guiltless— from the rank 
of freemen to the condition of slaves. 

11 Such power has not been wielded by any monarch in Eng- 
land for more than five hundred years, and in all that time 
no people who speak the English tongue have borne such 
servitude." 



A Woman Laughs 147 

When the last jeering cat-call which greeted this mes- 
sage of the Chief Magistrate had died away on the floor 
and in the galleries, old Stoneman rose, with a smile 
playing about his grim mouth, and introduced his bill to 
impeach the President of the United States and remove 
him from office. 



CHAPTER VIII 
A Dream 

ELSIE spent weeks of happiness in an abandon- 
ment of joy to the spell of her lover. His charm 
' was resistless. His gift of delicate intimacy, the 
eloquence with which he expressed his love, and yet the 
manly dignity with which he did it, threw a spell no 
woman could resist. 

Each day's working hours were given to his father's 
case and to the study of law. If there was work to do, he 
did it, and then struck the word care from his life, giving 
himself body and soul to his love. Great events were 
moving. The shock of the battle between Congress and 
the President began to shake the Republic to its founda- 
tions. He heard nothing, felt nothing, save the music of 
Elsie's voice. 

And she knew it. She had only played with lovers 
before. She had never seen one of Ben's kind, and he 
took her by storm. His creed was simple. The chief 
end of life is to glorify the girl you love. Other things 
could wait. And he let them wait. He ignored their 
existence. 

But one cloud cast its shadow over the girl's heart dur- 
ing these red-letter days of life — the fear of what her 
father would do to her lover's people. Ben had asked her 
148 



A Dream 149 

whether he must speak to him. When she said "No, 
not yet," he forgot that such a man lived. As for his 
politics, he knew nothing and cared less. 

But the girl knew and thought with sickening dread, 
until she forgot her fears in the joy of his laughter. Ben 
laughed so heartily, so insinuatingly, the contagion of his 
fun could not be resisted. 

He would sit for hours and confess to her the secrets of 
his boyish dreams of glory in war, recount his thrilling 
adventures and daring deeds with such enthusiasm that 
his cause seemed her own, and the pity and the anguish of 
the ruin of his people hurt her with the keen sense of per- 
sonal pain. His love for his native State was so genuine, 
his pride in the bravery and goodness of its people so 
chivalrous, she began to see for the first time how the 
cords which bound the Southerner to his soil were of the 
heart's red blood. 

She began to understand why the war, which had 
seemed to her a wicked, cruel, and causeless rebellion, was 
the one inevitable thing in our growth from a loose group 
of sovereign States to a United Nation. Love had given 
her his point of view. 

Secret grief over her father's course began to grow into 
conscious fear. With unerring instinct she felt the fatal 
day drawing nearer when these two men, now of her in- 
most life, must clash in mortal enmity. 

She saw little of her father. He was absorbed with 
fevered activity and deadly hate in his struggle with the 
President. 

Brooding over her fears one night, she had tried to 



150 The Clansman 

interest Ben in politics. To her surprise she found that 
he knew nothing of her father's real position or power as 
leader of his party. The stunning tragedy of the war had 
for the time crushed out of his consciousness all political 
ideas, as it had for most young Southerners. He took her 
hand while a dreamy look overspread his swarthy face: 

"Don't cross a bridge till you come to it. I learned 
that in the war. Politics are a mess. Let me tell you 
something that counts " 

He felt her hand's soft pressure and reverently kissed 
it. "Listen," he whispered. "I was dreaming last 
night after I left you of the home we'll build. Just back 
of our place, on the hill overlooking the river, my father 
and mother planted trees in exact duplicate of the ones 
they placed around our house when they were married. 
They set these trees in honour of the first-born of their 
love, that he should make his nest there when grown. 
But it was not for him. He had pitched his tent on 
higher ground, and the others with him. This place 
will be mine. There are forty varieties of trees, all 
grown — elm, maple, oak, holly, pine, cedar, magnolia, 
and every fruit and flowering stem that grows in our 
friendly soil. A little house, built near the vacant space 
reserved for the homestead, is nicely kept by a farmer, 
and birds have learned to build in every shrub and tree. 
All the year their music rings its chorus — one long over- 
ture awaiting the coming of my bride " 

Elsie sighed. 

"Listen, dear," he went on eagerly. "Last night I 
dreamed the South had risen from her ruins. I saw you 



A Dream 151 

there. I saw our home standing amid a bower of roses 
your hands had planted. The full moon wrapped it in 
soft light, while you and I walked hand in hand in silence 
beneath our trees. But fairer and brighter than the 
moon was the face of her I loved, and sweeter than all 
the songs of birds the music of her voice!" 

A tear dimmed the girl's warm eyes, and a deeper 
flush mantled her cheeks, as she lifted her face and whis- 
pered: 

"Kiss me." 



CHAPTER DC 
The King Amuses Himself 

WITH savage energy the Great Commoner 
pressed to trial the first impeachment of 
a President of the United States for high 
crimes and misdemeanours. 

His bill to confiscate the property of the Southern 
people was already pending on the calendar of the House. 
This bill was the most remarkable ever written in the 
English language or introduced into a legislative body of 
the Aryan race. It provided for the confiscation of 
ninety per cent, of the land of ten great States of the 
American Union. To each negro in the South was al- 
lotted forty acres from the estate of his former master, 
and the remaining millions of acres were to be divided 
among the "loyal who had suffered by reason of the 
Rebellion." 

The execution of this, the most stupendous crime 
ever conceived by an English lawmaker, involving the 
exile and ruin of millions of innocent men, women, and 
children, could not be intrusted to Andrew Johnson. 

No such measure could be enforced so long as any man 
was President and Commander-in-chief of the Army and 
Navy who claimed his title under the Constitution. 
Hence the absolute necessity of his removal. 
152 



The King Amuses Himself 153 

The conditions of society were ripe for this daring 
enterprise. 

Not only was the Ship of State in the hands of revolu- 
tionists who had boarded her in the storm stress of a 
civic convulsion, but among them swarmed the pirate 
captains of the boldest criminals who ever figured in the 
story of a nation. 

The first great Railroad Lobby, with continental em- 
pires at stake, thronged the Capitol with its lawyers, 
agents, barkers, and hired courtesans. 

The Cotton Thieves, who operated through a ring of 
Treasury agents, had confiscated unlawfully three mil- 
lion bales of cotton hidden in the South during the war 
and at its close, the last resource of a ruined people. The 
Treasury had received a paltry twenty thousand bales 
for the use of its name with which to seize alleged "prop- 
erty of the Confederate Government." The value of 
this cotton, stolen from the widows and orphans, the 
maimed and crippled, of the South was over $700,000,000 
in gold — a capital sufficient to have started an impov- 
erished people again on the road to prosperity. The 
agents of this ring surrounded the halls of legislation, 
guarding their booty from envious eyes, and demanding 
the enactment of vaster schemes of legal confiscation. 

The Whiskey Ring had just been formed, and began its 
system of gigantic frauds by which it scuttled the Treas- 
ury. 

Above them all towered the figure of Oakes Ames, 
whose master mind had organized the Credit Mobilier 
steal. This vast infamy had already eaten its way into 



154 The Clansman 

the heart of Congress and dug the graves of many illus- 
trious men. 

So open had become the shame that Stoneman was com- 
pelled to increase his committees in the morning, when a 
corrupt majority had been bought the night before. 

He arose one day, and looking at the distinguished 
Speaker, who was himself the secret associate of Oakes 
Ames, said: 

"Mr. Speaker: while the House slept, the enemy has 
sown tares among our wheat. The corporations of this 
country, having neither bodies to be kicked nor souls to 
be lost, have, perhaps by the power of argument alone, 
beguiled from the majority of my Committee the member 
from Connecticut. The enemy have now a majority of 
one. I move to increase the Committee to twelve." 

Speaker Colfax, soon to be hurled from the Vice-presi- 
dent's chair for his part with those thieves, increased his 
Committee. 

Everybody knew that "the power of argument alone" 
meant ten thousand dollars cash for the gentleman from 
Connecticut, who did not appear on the floor for a week, 
fearing the scorpion tongue of the old Commoner. 

A Congress which found it could make and unmake 
laws in defiance of the Executive went mad. Taxation 
soared to undreamed heights, while the currency was de- 
preciated and subject to the wildest fluctuations. 

The statute books were loaded with laws that shackled 
chains of monopoly on generations yet unborn. Public 
lands wide as the reach of empires were voted as gifts to 
private corporations, and subsidies of untold millions 



The King Amuses Himself 155 

fixed as a charge upon the people and their children's 
children. 

The demoralization incident to a great war, the waste 
of unheard-of sums of money, the giving of contracts in- 
volving millions by which fortunes were made in a night, 
the riot of speculation and debauchery by those who 
tried to get rich suddenly without labour, had created a 
new Capital of the Nation. The vulture army of the base, 
venal, unpatriotic, and corrupt, which had swept down, 
a black cloud, in wartime to take advantage of the mis- 
fortunes of the Nation, had settled in Washington and 
gave new tone to its life. 

Prior to the Civil War the Capital was ruled, and the 
standards of its social and political life fixed, by an aris- 
tocracy founded on brains, culture, and blood. Power 
was with few exceptions intrusted to an honourable 
body of high-spirited public officials. Now a negro 
electorate controlled the city government, and gangs 
of drunken negroes, its sovereign citizens, paraded the 
streets at night firing their muskets unchallenged and 
unmolested. 

A new mob of onion-laden breath, mixed with per- 
spiring African odour, became the symbol of American 
Democracy. 

A new order of society sprouted in this corruption. 
The old high-bred ways, tastes, and enthusiasms were 
driven into the hiding-places of a few families and cher- 
ished as relics of the past. 

Washington, choked with scrofulous wealth, bowed the 
knee to the Almighty Dollar. The new altar was covered 



156 The Clansman 

with a black mould of human blood — but no questions 
were asked. 

A mulatto woman kept the house of the foremost man 
of the Nation and received his guests with condescension. 

In this atmosphere of festering vice and gangrene pas- 
sions, the struggle between the Great Commoner and the 
President on which hung the fate of the South approached 
its climax. 

The whole Nation was swept into the whirlpool, and 
business was paralyzed. Two years after the close of a 
victorious war the credit of the Republic dropped until 
its six per cent, bonds sold in the open market for seventy- 
three cents on the dollar. 

The revolutionary junta in control of the Capital was 
within a single step of the subversion of the Government 
and the establishment of a Dictator in the White 
House. 

A convention was called in Philadelphia to restore 
fraternal feeling, heal the wounds of war, preserve the 
Constitution, and restore the Union of the fathers. It 
was a grand assemblage representing the heart and brain 
of the Nation. Members of Lincoln's first Cabinet, 
protesting Senators and Congressmen, editors of great 
Republican and Democratic newspapers, heroes of both 
armies, long estranged, met for a common purpose. When 
a group of famous negro worshippers from Boston sud- 
denly entered the hall, arm in arm with ex-slaveholders 
from South Carolina, the great meeting rose and walls and 
roof rang with thunder peals of applause. 

Their committee, headed by a famous editor, jour- 



The King Amuses Himself 157 

neyed to Washington to appeal to the Master at the Capi- 
tol. They sought him not in the White House, but in the 
little Black House in an obscure street on the hill. 

The brown woman received them with haughty dig- 
nity, and said: 

"Mr. Stoneman cannot be seen at this hour. It is 
after nine o'clock. I will submit to him your request for 
an audience to-morrow morning." 

"We must see him to-night," replied the editor, with 
rising anger. 

"The king is amusing himself," said the yellow woman, 
with a touch of malice. 

"Where is he?" 

Her catlike eyes rolled from side to side, and a smile 
played about her full lips as she said: 

"You will find him at Hall & Pemberton's gambling 
hell — you've lived in Washington. You know the 
way." 

With a muttered oath the editor turned on his heel and 
led his two companions to the old Commoner's favourite 
haunt. There could be no better time or place to ap- 
proach him than seated at one of its tables laden with rare 
wines and savoury dishes. 

On reaching the well-known number of Hall & Pem- 
berton's place, the editor entered the unlocked door, 
passed with his friends along the soft-carpeted hall, and 
ascended the stairs. Here the door was locked. A sud- 
den pull of the bell, and a pair of bright eyes peeped 
through a small grating in the centre of the door revealed 
bv the sliding of its panel. 



158 The Clansman 

The keen eyes glanced at the proffered card, the door 
flew open, and a well-dressed mulatto invited them with 
cordial welcome to enter. 

Passing along another hall, they were ushered into a 
palatial suite of rooms furnished in princely state. The 
floors were covered with the richest and softest carpets — 
so soft and yielding that the tramp of a thousand feet 
could not make the faintest echo. The walls and ceilings 
were frescoed by the brush of a great master, and hung 
with works of art worth a king's ransom. Heavy cur- 
tains, in colours of exquisite taste, masked each window, 
excluding all sound from within or without. 

The rooms blazed with light from gorgeous chandeliers 
of trembling crystals, shimmering and flashing from the 
ceilings like bouquets of diamonds. 

Negro servants, faultlessly dressed, attended the slight- 
est want of every guest with the quiet grace and courtesy 
of the lost splendours of the old South. 

The proprietor, with courtly manners, extended his 
hand: 

' ' Welcome, gentlemen ; you are my guests. The tables 
and the wines are at your service without price. Eat, 
drink, and be merry — play or not, as you please." 

A smile lighted his dark eyes, but faded out near his 
mouth — cold and rigid. 

At the farther end of the last room hung the huge paint- 
ing of a leopard, so vivid and real its black and tawny 
colours, so furtive and wild its restless eyes, it seemed 
alive and moving behind invisible bars. 

Just under it, gorgeously set in its jewel-studded frame, 



The King Amuses Himself 159 

stood the magic green table on which men staked their 
gold and lost their souls. « 

The rooms were crowded with Congressmen, Govern- 
ment officials, officers of the Army and Navy, clerks, 
contractors, paymasters, lobbyists, and professional 
gamblers. 

The centre of an admiring group was a Congressman 
who had during the last session of the House broken the 
"bank" in a single night, winning more than a hundred 
thousand dollars. He had lost it all and more in two 
weeks, and the courteous proprietor now held orders for 
the lion's share of the total pay and mileage of nearly 
every member of the House of Representatives. 

Over that table thousands of dollars of the people's 
money had been staked and lost during the war by 
quartermasters, paymasters, and agents in charge of public 
funds. Many a man had approached that green table 
with a stainless name and left it a perjured thief. Some 
had been carried out by those handsomely dressed wait- 
ers, and the man with the cold mouth could point out, 
if he would, more than one stain on the soft carpet which 
marked the end of a tragedy deeper than the pen of ro- 
mancer has ever sounded. 

Stoneman at the moment was playing. He was rarely 
a heavy player, but he had just staked a twenty-dollar 
gold piece and won fourteen hundred dollars. 

Howie, always at his elbow ready for a "sleeper" or a 
stake, said: 

"Put a stack on the ace." 

He did so, lost, and repeated it twice. > 



160 The Clansman 

"Do it again," urged Howie. "I'll stake my reputa- 
tion that the ace wins this time." 

With a doubting glance at Howie, old Stoneman shoved 
a stack of blue chips, worth fifty dollars, over the ace, 
playing it to win on Howie's judgment and reputation. 
It lost. 

Without the ghost of a smile, the old statesman said: 
"Howie, you owe me five cents." 

As he turned abruptly on his club foot from the 
table, he encountered the editor and his friends, a West- 
ern manufacturer and a Wall Street banker. They were 
soon seated at a table in a private room, over a dinner of 
choice oysters, diamond-back terrapin, canvas-back duck, 
and champagne. 

They presented their plea for a truce in his fight until 
popular passion had subsided. 

He heard them in silence. His answer was character- 
istic: 

"The will of the people, gentlemen, is supreme," he 
said with a sneer. "We are the people. 'The man at 
the other end of the avenue' has dared to defy the will 
of Congress. He must go. If the Supreme Court lifts 
a finger in this fight, it will reduce that tribunal to one 
man or increase it to twenty at our pleasure." 

"But the Constitution " broke in the chairman. 

"There are higher laws than paper compacts. We 
are conquerors treading conquered soil. Our will alone 
is the source of law. The drunken boor who claims to 
be President is in reality an alien of a conquered prov- 
ince." 



The King Amuses Himself 161 

"We protest," exclaimed the man of money, "against 
the use of such epithets in referring to the Chief Magis- 
trate of the Republic!" 

"And why, pray?" sneered the Commoner. 

" In the name of common decency, law, and order. The 
President is a man of inherent power, even if he did learn 
to read after his marriage. Like many other Americans, 
he is a self-made man " 

"Glad to hear it," snapped Stoneman. "It relieves 
Almighty God of a fearful responsibility." 

They left him in disgust and dismay. 



CHAPTER X 

Tossed by the Storm 

AS the storm of passion raised by the clash between 

/% her father and. the President rose steadily to the 
1 m. sweep of a cyclone, Elsie felt her own life but a 
leaf driven before its fury. 

Her only comfort she found in Phil, whose letters to her 
were full of love for Margaret. He asked Elsie a thou- 
sand foolish questions about what she thought of his 
chances. 

To her own confessions he was all sympathy. 

"Of father's wild scheme of vengeance against the 
South," he wrote, "I am heartsick. I hate it on prin- 
ciple, to say nothing of a girl I know. I am with General 
Grant for peace and reconciliation. What does your 
lover think of it all? I can feel your anguish. The bill to 
rob the Southern people of their land, which I hear is 
pending, would send your sweetheart and mine, our 
enemies, into beggared exile. What will happen in the 
South? Riot and bloodshed, of course — perhaps a guerilla 
war of such fierce and terrible cruelty humanity sickens at 
the thought. I fear the Rebellion unhinged our father's 
reason on some things. He was too old to go to the front; 
the cannon's breath would have cleared the air and sweet- 
ened his temper. But its healing was denied. I believe 
162 



Tossed by the Storm 163 

the tawny leopardess who keeps his house influences him 
in this cruel madness. I could wring her neck with ex- 
quisite pleasure. Why he allows her to stay and cloud 
his life with her she-devil temper and fog his name with 
vulgar gossip is beyond me." 

Seated in the park on the Capitol hill the day after her 
father had introduced his Confiscation Bill in the House, 
pending the impeachment of the President, she again at- 
tempted^ draw Ben out as to his feelings on politics. 

She waited in sickening fear and bristling pride for the 
first burst of his anger which would mean their separation. 

"How do I feel? " he asked. "Don't feel at all. The 
surrender of General Lee was an event so stunning, my 
mind has not yet staggered past it. Nothing much can 
happen after that, so it don't matter." 

"Negro suffrage don't matter?" 

"No. We can manage the negro," he said calmly. 

"With thousands of your own people disfranchised?" 

"The negroes will vote with us, as they worked for us 
during the war. If they give them the ballot, they'll wish 
they hadn't." 

Ben looked at her tenderly, bent near, and whispered: 

"Don't waste your sweet breath talking about such 
things. My politics is bounded on the North by a pair 
of amber eyes, on the South by a dimpled little chin, on 
the East and West by a rosy cheek. Words do not frame 
its speech. Its language is a mere sign, a pressure of the 
lips — yet it thrills body and soul beyond all words." 

Elsie leaned closer, and looking at the Capitol, said 
wistfully: 



164 The Clansman 

"I don't believe you know anything that goes on in 
that big marble building." 

"Yes, I do." 

"What happened there yesterday?" 

"You honoured it by putting your beautiful feet on its 
steps. I saw the whole huge pile of cold marble suddenly 
glow with warm sunlight and flash with beauty as you 
entered it." 

The girl nestled still closer to his side, feeling her utter 
helplessness in the rapids of the Niagara through which 
they were being whirled by blind and merciless forces. 
For the moment she forgot all fears in his nearness and the 
sweet pressure of his hand. 



CHAPTER XI 

The Supreme Test 

IT is the glory of the American Republic that every 
man who has filled the office of President has grown 
in stature when clothed with its power and has 
proved himself worthy of its solemn trust. It is our 
highest claim to the respect of the world and the vindica- 
tion of man's capacity to govern himself. 

The impeachment of President Andrew Johnson would 
mark either the lowest tide-mud of degradation to which 
the Republic could sink, or its end. In this trial our 
system would be put to its severest strain. If a partisan 
majority in Congress could remove the Executive and 
defy the Supreme Court, stability to civic institutions 
was at an end, and the breath of a mob would become the 
sole standard of law. 

Congress had thrown to the winds the last shreds of 
decency in its treatment of the Chief Magistrate. Stone- 
man led this campaign of insult, not merely from feelings 
of personal hate, but because he saw that thus the Presi- 
dent's conviction before the Senate would become all but, 
inevitable. 

When his messages arrived from the White House 
they were thrown into the waste-basket without being 
read, amid jeers, hisses, curses, and ribald laughter. 
165 



166 The Clansman 

In lieu of their reading, Stoneman would send to the 
Clerk's desk an obscene tirade from a party newspaper, 
and the Clerk of the House would read it amid the 
mocking groans, laughter, and applause of the floor and 
galleries. 

A favourite clipping described the President as " an inso- 
lent drunken brute, in comparison with whom Caligula's 
horse was respectable." 

In the Senate, whose members were to sit as sworn 
judges to decide the question of impeachment, Charles 
Sumner used language so vulgar that he was called to 
order. Sustained by the Chair and the Senate, he re- 
peated it with increased violence, concluding with cold 
venom: 

"Andrew Johnson has become the successor of Jef- 
ferson Davis. In holding him up to judgment I do not 
dwell on his beastly intoxication the day he took the oath 
as Vice-president, nor do I dwell on his maudlin speeches 
by which he has degraded the country, nor hearken to the 
reports of pardons sold, or of personal corruption. 
These things are bad. But he has usurped the powers 
of Congress." 

Conover, the perjured wretch, in prison for his crimes 
as a professional witness in the assassination trial, now 
circulated the rumour that he could give evidence that 
President Johnson was the assassin of Lincoln. Without 
a moment's hesitation, Stoneman's henchmen sent a peti- 
tion to the President for the pardon of this villain that 
he might turn against the man who had pardoned him 
and swear his life away! This scoundrel was borne in 



The Supreme Test 167 

triumph from prison to the Capitol and placed before the 
Impeachment Committee, to whom he poured out his 
wondrous tale. 

The sewers and prisons were dragged for every scrap 
of testimony to be found, and the day for the trial ap- 
proached. 

As it drew nearer, excitement grew intense. Swarms of 
adventurers expecting the overthrow of the Government 
crowded into Washington. Dreams of honours, profits, 
and division of spoils held riot. Gamblers thronged the 
saloons and gaming-houses, betting their gold on the 
President's head. 

Stoneman found the business more serious than even 
his daring spirit had dreamed. His health suddenly gave 
way under the strain, and he was put to bed by his physi- 
cian with the warning that the least excitement would be 
instantly fatal. 

Elsie entered the little Black House on the hill for the 
first time since her trip at the age of twelve, some eight 
years before. She installed an army nurse, took charge 
of the place, and ignored the existence of the brown 
woman, refusing to speak to her or permit her to enter 
her father's room. 

His illness made it necessary to choose an assistant to 
conduct the case before the High Court. There was but 
one member of the House whose character and ability 
fitted him for the place — General Benj. F. Butler, of 
Massachusetts, whose name was enough to start a riot in 
any assembly in America. 

His selection precipitated a storm at the Capitol. A 



168 The Clansman 

member leaped to his feet on the floor of the House and 
shouted : 

"If I were to characterize all that is pusillanimous in 
war, inhuman in peace, forbidden in morals, and corrupt 
in politics, I could name it in one word — Butlerism!" 

For this speech he was ordered to apologize, and when 
he refused with scorn they voted that the Speaker pub- 
licly censure him. The Speaker did so, but winked at the 
offender while uttering the censure. 

John A. Bingham, of Ohio, who had been chosen for 
his powers of oratory to make the principal speech against 
the President, rose in the House and indignantly refused 
to serve on the Board of Impeachment with such a man. 

General Butler replied with crushing insolence: 

"It is true, Mr. Speaker, that I may have made an 
error of judgment in trying to blow up Fort Fisher with 
a powder ship at sea. I did the best I could with the 
talents God gave me. An angel could have done no more. 
At least I bared my own breast in my country's defence — 
a thing the distinguished gentleman who insults me has 
not ventured to do — his only claim to greatness being 
that, behind prison walls, on perjured testimony, his 
fervid eloquence sent an innocent American mother 
screaming to the gallows." 

The fight was ended only by an order from the old 
Commoner's bed to Bingham to shut his mouth and 
work with Butler. When the President had been 
crushed, then they could settle Kilkenny-cat issues. 
Bingham obeyed. 

When the august tribunal assembled in the Senate 



The Supreme Test 169 

Chamber, fifty-five Senators, presided over by Salmon 
P. Chase, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, constituted 
the tribunal. They took their seats in a semicircle in 
front of the Vice-president's desk at which the Chief 
Justice sat. Behind them crowded the one hundred 
and ninety members of the House of Representatives, the 
accusers of the ruler of the mightiest Republic in human 
history. Every inch of space in the galleries was crowded 
with brilliantly dressed men and women, army officers 
in gorgeous uniforms, and the pomp and splendour of the 
ministers of every foreign court of the world. In spec- 
tacular grandeur no such scene was ever before witnessed 
in the annals of justice. 

The peculiar personal appearance of General Butler, 
whose bald head shone with insolence while his eye 
seemed to be winking over his record as a warrior and 
making fun of his fellow-manager Bingham, added a 
touch of humour to the solemn scene. 

The magnificent head of the Chief Justice suggested 
strange thoughts to the beholder. He had been sum- 
moned but the day before to try Jefferson Davis for the 
treason of declaring the Southern States out of the Union. 
To-day he sat down to try the President of the United 
States for declaring them to be in the Union! He had 
protested with warmth that he could not conduct both 
these trials at once. 

The Chief Justice took oath to "do impartial justice 
according to the Constitution and the laws," and to the 
chagrin of Sumner administered this oath to each Senator 
in turn. When Benjamin F. Wade's name was called, 



170 ^The Clansman 

Hendricks, of Indiana, objected to his sitting as judge. 
He could succeed temporarily to the Presidency, as the 
presiding officer of the Senate, and his own vote might 
decide the fate of the accused and determine his own 
succession. The law forbids the Vice-president to sit on 
such trials. It should apply with more vigour in his 
case. Besides, he had without a hearing already pro- 
nounced the President guilty. 

Sumner, forgetting his motion to prevent Stockton's 
voting against his own expulsion, flew to the defence of 
Wade. Hendricks smilingly withdrew his objection, and 
"Bluff Ben Wade" took the oath and sat down to judge 
his own cause with unruffled front. 

When the case was complete, the whole bill of indict- 
ment stood forth a tissue of stupid malignity without a 
shred of evidence to support its charges. 

On the last day of the trial, when the closing speeches 
were being made, there was a stir at the door. The 
throng of men, packing every inch of floor space, were 
pushed rudely aside. The crowd craned their necks, 
Senators turned and looked behind them to see what the 
disturbance meant, and the Chief Justice rapped for order. 

Suddenly through the dense mass appeared the forms 
of two gigantic negroes carrying an old man. His grim 
face, white and rigid, and his big club foot hanging 
pathetically from those black arms, could not be mis- 
taken. A thrill of excitement swept the floor and galler- 
ies, and a faint cheer rippled the surface, quickly 
suppressed by the gavel. 

The negroes placed him in an armchair facing the semi- 



The Supreme Test 171 

circle of Senators, and crouched down on their haunches 
beside him. Their kinky heads, black skin, thick lips, 
white teeth, and flat noses made for the moment a 
curious symbolic frame for the chalk-white passion of the 
old Commoner's face. 

No sculptor ever dreamed a more sinister emblem of 
the corruption of a race of empire builders than this 
group. Its black figures, wrapped in the night of four 
thousand years of barbarism, squatted there the "equal" 
of their master, grinning at his forms of justice, the evolu- 
tion of forty centuries of Aryan genius. To their brute 
strength the white fanatic in the madness of his hate had 
appealed, and for their hire he had bartered the birthright 
of a mighty race of freemen. 

The speaker hurried to his conclusion that the half- 
fainting master might deliver his message. In the mean- 
while his eyes, cold and thrilling, sought the secrets of the 
souls of the judges before him. 

He had not come to plead or persuade. He had 
eluded the vigilance of his daughter and nurse, escaped 
with the aid of the brown woman and her black allies, and 
at the peril of his life had come to command. Every 
energy of his indomitable will he was using now to keep 
from fainting. He felt that if he could but look those men 
in the face they would not dare to defy his word. 

He shambled painfully to his feet amid a silence that 
was awful. Again the sheer wonder of the man's person- 
ality held the imagination of the audience. His audacity, 
his fanaticism, and the strange contradictions of his char- 
acter stirred the mind of friend and foe alike — this man 



172 The Clansman 

who tottered there before them, holding off Death with 
his big ugly left hand, while with his right he clutched at 
the throat of his foe! Honest and dishonest, cruel and 
tender, great and mean, a party leader who scorned 
public opinion, a man of conviction, yet the most un- 
scrupulous politician, a philosopher who preached the 
equality of man, yet a tyrant who hated the world and 
despised all men! 

His very presence before them an open defiance of love 
and life and death, would not his word ring omnipotent 
when the verdict was rendered? Every man in the great 
courtroom believed it as he looked on the rows of Sen- 
ators hanging on his lips. 

He spoke at first with unnatural vigour, a faint flush of 
fever lighting his white face, his voice quivering yet pene- 
trating. 

"Upon that man among you who shall dare to acquit 
the President," he boldly threatened, "I hurl the ever- 
lasting curse of a Nation — an infamy that shall rive and 
blast his children's children until they shrink from their 
own name as from the touch of pollution ! " 

He gasped for breath, his restless hands fumbled at his 
throat, he staggered and would have fallen had not his 
black guards caught him. He revived, pushed them back 
on their haunches, and sat down. And then, with his big 
club foot thrust straight in front of him, his gnarled hands 
gripping the arms of his chair, the massive head shaking 
back and forth like a wounded lion, he continued his 
speech, which grew in fierce intensity with each laboured 
breath. 



The Supreme Test 173 

The effect was electrical. Every Senator leaned for- 
ward to catch the lowest whisper, and so awful was the 
suspense in the galleries the listeners grew faint. 

When this last mad challenge was hurled into the teeth 
of the judges, the dazed crowd paused for breath and the 
galleries burst into a storm of applause. 

In vain the Chief Justice rose, his lionlike face livid 
with anger, pounded for order, and commanded the gal- 
leries to be cleared. 

They laughed at him. Roar after roar was the answer. 
The Chief Justice in loud angry tones ordered the Ser- 
geant-at-Arms to clear the galleries. 

Men leaned over the rail and shouted in his face: 

"He can't do it!" 

"He hasn't got men enough!" 

"Let him try if he dares ! " 

The doorkeepers attempted to enforce order by 
announcing it in the name of the peace and dignity and 
sovereign power of the Senate over its sacred chamber. 
The crowd had now become a howling mob which jeered 
them. 

Senator Grimes, of Iowa, rose and demanded the reason 
why the Senate was thus insulted and the order had not 
been enforced. 

A volley of hisses greeted his question. 

The Chief Justice, evidently quite nervous, declared 
the order would be enforced. 

Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, moved that the offenders 
be arrested. 

In reply the crowd yelled: 



174 The Clansman 

"We'd like to see you do it!" 

At length the mob began to slowly leave the galleries 
tinder the impression that the High Court had adjourned. 

Suddenly a man cried out: 

"Hold on! They ain't going to adjourn. Let's see it 
out!" 

Hundreds took their seats again. In the corridors a 
crowd began to sing in wild chorus: 

' ' Old Grimes is dead, that po or old man. ' ' The women 
joined with glee. Between the verses the leader would 
curse the Iowa Senator as a traitor and copperhead. 
The singing could be distinctly heard by the Court as 
its roar floated through the open doors. 

When the Senate Chamber had been cleared and the 
most disgraceful scene that ever occurred within its 
portals had closed, the High Court Impeachment went 
into secret session to consider the evidence and its verdict. 

Within an hour from its adjournment it was known to 
the Managers that seven Republican Senators were 
doubtful, and that they formed a group under the leader- 
ship of two great constitutional lawyers who still believed 
in the sanctity of a judge's oath — Lyman Trumbull, of 
Illinois, and William Pitt Fessenden, of Maine. Around 
them had gathered Senators Grimes, of Iowa, Van 
Winkle, of West Virginia, Fowler, of Tennessee, Hender- 
son, of Missouri, and Ross, of Kansas. The Managers 
were in a panic. If these men dared to hold together with 
the twelve Democrats, the President would be acquitted 
by one vote — they could count thirty-four certain for con- 
viction. 



The Supreme Test 175 

The Revolutionists threw to the winds the last scruple 
of decency, went into caucus and organized a conspiracy 
for forcing, within the few days which must pass before 
the verdict, these judges to submit to their decree. 

Fessenden and Trumbull were threatened with im- 
peachment and expulsion from the Senate and bom- 
barded by the most furious assaults from the press, which 
denounced them as infamous traitors, "as mean, repulsive, 
and noxious as hedgehogs in the cages of a travelling 
menagerie." 

A mass meeting was held in Washington which said: 

"Resolved, that we impeach Fessenden, Trumbull, and 
Grimes at the bar of justice and humanity, as traitors be- 
fore whose guilt the infamy of Benedict Arnold becomes 
respectability and decency." 

The Managers sent out a circular telegram to every 
State from which came a doubtful judge: 

" Great danger to the peace of the country if impeach- 
ment fails. Send your Senators public opinion by reso- 
lutions, letters, and delegates." 

The man who excited most wrath was Ross, of Kansas. 
That Kansas of all States should send a "traitor" was 
more than the spirits of the Revolutionists could bear. 

A mass meeting in Leavenworth accordingly sent him 
the telegram: 

"Kansas has heard the evidence and demands the con- 
viction of the President. 

"D. R. Anthony and 1,000 others." 

To this Ross replied: 

"I have taken an oath to do impartial justice. I trust 



176 The Clansman 

I shall have the courage and honesty to vote according 
to the dictates of my judgment and for the highest good 
of. my country." 

He got his answer: 

"Your motives are Indian contracts and greenbacks. 
Kansas repudiates you as she does all perjurers and 
skunks." 

The Managers organized an inquisition for the purpose 
of torturing and badgering Ross into submission. His 
one vote was all they lacked. 

They laid siege to little Vinnie Ream, the sculptress, 
to whom Congress had awarded a contract for the statue 
of Lincoln. Her studio was in the crypt of the Capitol. 
They threatened her with the wrath of Congress, the 
loss of her contract, and ruin of her career unless she 
found a way to induce Senator Ross, whom she knew, 
to vote against the President. 

Such an attempt to gain by fraud the verdict of a com- 
mon court of law would have sent its promotors to prison 
for felony. Yet the Managers of this case, before the 
highest tribunal of the world, not only did it without a 
blush of shame, but cursed as a traitor every man who 
dared to question their motives. 

As the day approached for the Court to vote, Senator 
Ross remained to friend and foe a sealed mystery. Re- 
porters swarmed about him, the target of a thousand eyes. 
His rooms were besieged by his radical constituents who 
had been imported from Kansas in droves to browbeat 
Mm into a promise to convict. His movements day and 
night, his breakfast, his dinner, his supper, the clothes he 



The Supreme Test 177 

wore, the colour of his cravat, his friends and companions, 
were chronicled in hourly bulletins and flashed over the 
wires from the delirious Capital. 

Chief Justice Chase called the High Court of Impeach- 
ment to order, to render its verdict. Old Stoneman had 
again been carried to his chair in the arms of two negroes, 
and sat with his cold eyes searching the faces of the 
judges. 

The excitement had reached the highest pitch of in- 
tensity. A sense of choking solemnity brooded over the 
scene. The feeling grew that the hour had struck which 
would test the capacity of man to establish an enduring 
Republic. 

The Clerk read the Eleventh Article, drawn by the 
Great Commoner as the supreme test. 

As its last words died away the Chief Justice rose 
amid a silence that was agony, placed his hands on the 
sides of the desk as if to steady himself, and said: 

"Call the roll." 

Each Senator answered "Guilty" or "Not Guilty," 
exactly as they had been counted by the Managers, until 
Fessenden's name was called. 

A moment of stillness and the great lawyer's voice rang 
high, cold, clear, and resonant as a Puritan church bell on 
Sunday morning: 

"Not Guilty!" 

A murmur, half groan and sigh, half cheer and cry, 
rippled the great hall. 

The other votes were discounted now save that of 
Edmund G. Ross, of Kansas. No human being on earth 



178 The Clansman 

knew what this man would do save the silent invisible 
man within his soul. 

Over the solemn trembling silence the voice of the 
Chief Justice rang: 

"Senator Ross, how say you? Is the respondent, 
Andrew Johnson, guilty or not guilty of a high misde- 
meanor as charged in this article? " 

The great Judge bent forward; his brow furrowed as 
Ross arose. 

His fellow Senators watched him spellbound. A thou- 
sand men and women, hanging from the galleries, fo- 
cussed their eyes on him. Old Stoneman drew his bris- 
tling brows down, watching him like an adder ready to 
strike, his lower lip protruding, his jaws clinched as a 
vise, his hands fumbling the arms of his chair. 

Every breath is held, every ear strained, as the answer 
falls from the sturdy Scotchman like the peal of a trum- 
pet: 

"Not Guilty!" 

The crowd breathes — a pause, a murmur, the shuffle 
of a thousand feet 

The President is acquitted, and the Republic lives! 

The House assembled and received the report of the 
verdict. Old Stoneman pulled himself half erect, hold- 
ing to his desk, addressed the Speaker, introduced his 
second bill for the impeachment of the President, and 
fell fainting in the arms of his black attendants. 



CHAPTER XII 

Triumph in Defeat 

UPON the failure to convict the President, Edwin 
M. Stanton resigned, sank into despair and 
died, and a soldier Secretary of War opened 
the prison doors. 

Ben Cameron and his father. hurried Southward to a 
home and land passing under a cloud darker than the 
dust and smoke of blood-soaked battlefields — the Black 
Plague of Reconstruction. 

For two weeks the old Commoner wrestled in silence 
with Death. When at last he spoke, it was to the stal- 
wart negroes who had called to see him and were standing 
by his bedside. 

' Turning his deep-sunken eyes on them a moment, he 
said slowly: 

"I wonder whom I'll get to carry me when you boys 
die!" 

. Elsie hurried to his side and kissed him tenderly. For 
a week his mind hovered in the twilight that lies between 
time and eternity. He seemed to forget the passions and 
fury of his fierce career and live over the memories of his 
youth, recalling pathetically its bitter poverty and its 
fair dreams. He would lie for hours and hold Elsie's 
hand, pressing it gently. 

179 



180 The Clansman 

In one of his lucid moments he said: 

"How beautiful you are, my child! You shall be a 
queen. I've dreamed of boundless wealth for you and 
my boy. My plans are Napoleonic — and I shall not 
fail- — never fear — aye, beyond the dreams of avarice!" 

"I wish no wealth save the heart treasure of those I 
lave, father," was the soft answer. 

"Of course, little day-dreamer. But the old cynic who 
hak outlived himself and knows the mockery of time and 
things will be wisdom for your foolishness. You shall 
keep your toys. What pleases you shall please me. Yet 
I will be wise for us both." 

She laid ha hand upon his lips, and he kissed the warm 
little fingers. 

In these days of soul-nearness the iron heart softened 
as never before in love toward his children. Phil had 
hurried home from the West and secured his release from 
the remaining weeks of his term of service. 

As the father lay watching them move about the room, 
the cold light in his deep-set wonderful eyes would melt 
into a soft glow. 

As he grew stronger, the old fierce spirit of the uncon- 
quexed leader began to assert itself. He would take up 
the fight where he left it off and carry it to victory. 

Elsie and Phil sent the doctor to tell him the truth and 
beg him to quit politics. 

"Your work is done; you have but three months to live 
unless you go South and find new life," was the verdict. 

"In either event I go to a warmer climate, eh, doctor?" 
said the cynic. 



Triumph in Defeat 181 

"Perhaps," was the laughing reply. 

"Good. It suits me better. I've had the move in 
mind. I can do more effective work in the South for the 
next two years. Your decision is fate. I'll go at once." 

The doctor was taken aback. 

"Come now," he said persuasively. "Let a disinter- 
ested Englishman give you some advice. You've never 
taken any before. I give it as medicine, and I won't put 
it on your bill. Slow down on politics. Your recent 
defeat should teach you a lesson in conservatism." 

The old Commoner's powerful mouth became rigid, 
and the lower lip bulged: 

" Conservatism — fossil putrefaction ! " 

"But defeat?" 

"Defeat?" cried the old man. "Who said I was de- 
feated? The South lies in ashes at my feet — the very 
names of her proud States blotted from history. The 
Supreme Court awaits my nod. True, there's a man 
boarding in the White House, and I vote to pay his bills ; 
but the page who answers my beck and call has more 
power. Every measure on which I've set my heart is 
law, save one — my Confiscation Act — and this but waits 
the fulness of time." 

The doctor, who was walking back and forth with his 
hands folded behind him, paused and said: 

"I marvel that a man of your personal integrity could 
conceive such a measure; you, who refused to accept 
the legal release of your debts until the last farthing was 
paid — you, whose cruelty of the lip is hideous, and yet 
beneath it so gentle a personality, I've seen the pages in 



182 The Clansman 

the House stand at your back and mimic you while speak- 
ing, secure in the smile with which you turned to greet 
their fun. And yet you press this crime upon a brave 
and generous foe?" 

"A wrong can have no rights," said Stoneman calmly. 
"Slavery will not be dead until the landed aristocracy on 
which it rested is destroyed. I am not cruel or unjust. 
I am but fulfilling the largest vision of universal democ- 
racy that ever stirred the soul of man — a democracy that 
shall know neither rich nor poor, bond nor free, white nor 
black. If I use the wild pulse-beat of the rage of mil- 
lions, it is only a means to an end — this grander vision of 
the soul." 

"Then why not begin at home this vision, and give the 
stricken South a moment to rise?" 

"No. The North is impervious to change, rich, proud, 
and unscathed by war. The South is in chaos and can- 
not resist. It is but the justice and wisdom of Heaven 
that the negro shall rule the land of his bondage. It is 
the only solution of the race problem. Lincoln's con- 
tention that we could not live half white and half black 
is sound at the core. When we proclaim equality, social, 
political, and economic for the negro, we mean always to 
enforce it in the South. The negro will never be treated 
as an equal in the North. We are simply a set of cold- 
blooded liars on that subject, and always have been. To 
the Yankee the very physical touch of a negro is pollu- 
tion." 

"Then you don't believe this twaddle about equality? " 
asked the doctor. 



Triumph in Defeat 18$ 

"Yes and no. Mankind in the large is a herd of mer- 
cenary gudgeons or fools. As a lawyer in Pennsylvania 
I have defended fifty murderers on trial for their lives. 
Forty-nine of them were guilty. All these I succeeded in 
acquitting. One of them was innocent. This one they 
hung. Can a man keep his face straight in such a world? 
Could negro blood degrade such stock? Might not an ape 
improve it? I preach equality as a poet and seer who sees 
a vision beyond the rim of the horizon of to-day." 

The old man's eyes shone with the set stare of a fa- 
natic. 

"And you think the South is ready for this wild vision? " 

"Not ready, but helpless to resist. As a cold-blooded, 
scientific experiment, I mean to give the Black Man one 
turn at the Wheel of Life. It is an act of just retribution. 
Besides, in my plans I need his vote; and that settles it.' 7 

"But will your plans work? Your own reports show 
serious trouble in the South already." 

Stoneman laughed. 

"I never read my own reports. They are printed in 
molasses to catch flies. The Southern legislatures played 
into my hands by copying the laws of New England re- 
lating to Servants, Masters, Apprentices, and Vagrants.. 
But even these were repealed at the first breath of criti- 
cism. Neither the Freedman's Bureau nor the army has 
ever loosed its grip on the throat of the South for a mo- 
ment. These disturbances and 'atrocities' are danger- 
ous only when printed on campaign fly-paper." 

"And how will you master and control these ten great 
Southern States?" 



184 The Clansman 

"Through my Reconstruction Acts by means of the 
Union League. As a secret between us, I am the soul of 
this order. I organized it in 1863 to secure my plan of 
confiscation. We pressed it on Lincoln. He repudiated 
it. We nominated Fremont at Cleveland against Lin- 
coln in '64, and tried to split the party or force Lincoln 
to retire. Fremont, a conceited ass, went back on this 
plank in our platform, and we dropped him and helped 
elect Lincoln again." 

"I thought the Union League a patriotic and social 
organization? " said the doctor in surprise. 

"It has these features, but its sole aim as a secret order 
is to confiscate the property of the South. I will perfect 
this mighty organization until every negro stands drilled 
in serried line beneath its banners, send a solid delegation 
here to do my bidding, and return at the end of two years 
with a majority so overwhelming that my word will be 
law. I will pass my Confiscation Bill. If Ulysses S. 
Grant, the coming idol, falters, my second bill of Im- 
peachment will only need the change of a name." 

The doctor shook his head. 

"Give up this madness. Your life is hanging by a 
thread. The Southern people even in their despair will 
never drink this black broth you are pressing to their 
lips." 

"They've got to drink it." 

"Your decision is unalterable?" 

1 ' Absolutely. It's the breath I breathe. As my physi- 
cian you may select the place to which I shall be ban- 
ished. It must be reached by rail and wire. I care not 



Triumph in Defeat 185 

its name or size. I'll make it the capital of the Nation^ 
There'll be poetic justice in setting up my establishment 
in a fallen slaveholder's mansion." 

The doctor looked intently at the old man: 

"The study of men has become a sort of passion with 
me, but you are the deepest mystery I've yet encountered 
in this land of surprises." 

"And why?" asked the cynic. 

"Because the secret of personality resides in motives, 
and I can't find yours either in your actions or words." 

Stoneman glanced at him sharply from beneath his 
wrinkled brows and snapped. 

"Keep on guessing." 

"I will. In the meantime I'm going to send you to 
the village of Piedmont, South Carolina. Your son and 
daughter both seem enthusiastic over this spot." 

"Good; that settles it. And now that mine own have 
been conspiring against me," said Stoneman confiden- 
tially, "a little guile on my part. Not a word of what 
has passed between us to my children. Tell them I agree 
with your plans and give up my work. I'll give the same 
story to the press — I wish nothing to mar their happi- 
ness while in the South. My secret burdens need not 
cloud their young lives." 

Dr. Barnes took the old man by the hand: 

"I promise. My assistant has agreed to go with you. 
I'll say good-bye. It's an inspiration to look into a face 
like yours, lit by the splendour of an unconquerable will! 
But I want to say something to you before you set out on 
this journey." 



186 The Clansman 

"Out with it," said the Commoner. 

''The breed to which the Southern white man belongs 
has conquered every foot of soil on this earth their feet 
have pressed for a thousand years. A handful of them 
hold in subjection three hundred millions in India. Place 
a dozen of them in the heart of Africa, and they will rule 
the continent unless you kill them " 

"Wait," cried Stoneman, "until I put a ballot in the 
hand of every negro and a bayonet at the breast of every 
white man from the James to the Rio Grande!" 

"I'll tell you a little story," said the doctor with a smile. 
"I once had a half -grown eagle in a cage in my yard. The 
door was left open one day, and a meddlesome rooster 
hopped in to pick a fight. The eagle had been sick a 
week and seemed an easy mark. I watched. The rooster 
jumped and wheeled and spurred and picked pieces out 
of his topknot. The young eagle didn't know at first 
what he meant. He walked around dazed, with a hurt 
expression. When at last it dawned on him what the 
chicken was about, he simply reached out one claw, 
took the rooster by the neck, planted the other claw in his 
breast, and snatched his head off." 

The old man snapped his massive jaws together and 
grunted contemptuously. 



Book III— The Reign of Terror 

CHAPTER I 

A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 

PIEDMONT, South Carolina, which Elsie and Phil 
had selected for reasons best known to themselves 
as the place of retreat for their father, was a 
favourite summer resort of Charleston people before the 
war. 

Ulster county, of which this village was the capital, 
bordered on the North Carolina line, lying alongside the 
ancient shore of York. It was settled by the Scotch folk 
who came from the North of Ireland in the great migra- 
tions which gave America three hundred thousand people 
of Covenanter martyr blood, the largest and most im- 
portant addition to our population, larger in number than 
either the Puritans of New England or the so-called 
Cavaliers of Virginia and Eastern Carolina; and far more 
important than either, in the growth of American nation- 
ality. 

To a man they had hated Great Britain. Not a Tory 
was found among them. The cries of their martyred 
dead were still ringing in their souls when George III 
started on his career of oppression. The fiery words of 
Patrick Henry, their spokesman in the valley of Virginia, 
187 



188 The Clansman 

had swept the aristocracy of the Old Dominion into re^ 
bellion against the King and on into triumphant Democ- 
racy. They had made North Carolina the first home of 
freedom in the New World, issued the first Declaration of 
Independence in Mecklenburg, and lifted the first banner 
of rebellion against the tyranny of the Crown. 

They grew to the soil wherever they stopped, always 
home lovers and home builders, loyal to their own people, 
instinctive clan leaders and clan followers. A sturdy, 
honest, covenant-keeping, God-fearing, fighting people, 
above all things they hated sham and pretence. They 
never boasted of their families, though some of them might 
have quartered the royal arms of Scotland on their shields. 

To these sturdy qualities had been added a strain of 
Huguenot tenderness and vivacity. 

The culture of cotton as the sole industry had fixed 
African slavery as their economic system. With the heri- 
tage of the Old World had been blended forces inherent in 
the earth and air of the new Southland, something of the 
breath of its unbroken forests, the freedom of its untrod 
mountains, the temper of its sun, and the sweetness of its 
tropic perfumes. 

When Mrs. Cameron received Elsie's letter, asking her 
to secure for them six good rooms at the "Palmetto" 
hotel, she laughed. The big rambling hostelry had been 
burned by roving negroes, pigs were wallowing in the sul- 
phur springs, and along its walks, where lovers of olden 
days had strolled, the cows were browsing on the shrub- 
bery. 

But she laughed for a more important reason. They 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 189 

had asked for a six-room cottage if accommodations could 
not be had in the hotel. 

She could put them in the Lenoir place. The cotton 
crop from their farm had been stolen from the gin — the 
cotton tax of $200 could not be paid, and a mortgage was 
about to be foreclosed on both their farm and home. She 
had been brooding over their troubles in despair. The 
Stonemans' coming was a godsend. 

Mrs. Cameron was helping them set the house in order 
to receive the new tenants. 

"I declare," said Mrs. Lenoir gratefully. "It seems 
too good to be true. Just as I was about to give up — the 
first time in my life — here came those rich Yankees and 
with enough rent to pay the interest on the mortgages and 
our board at the hotel. I'll teach Margaret to paint, and 
she can give Marion lessons on the piano. The darkest 
hour's just before day. And last week I cried when they 
told me I must lose the farm." 

"I was heartsick over it for you." 

"You know, the farm was my dowry with the dozen 
slaves Papa gave us on our wedding-day. The negroes 
did as they pleased, yet we managed to live and were very 
happy." 

Marion entered and placed a bouquet of roses on the 
table, touching them daintily until she stood each flower 
apart in careless splendour. Their perfume, the girl's wist- 
ful dreamy blue eyes and shy elusive beauty, all seemed a 
part of the warm sweet air of the June morning. Mrs, 
Lenoir watched her lovingly. 

"Mamma, I'm going to put flowers in every room. I'm 



190 The Clansman 

sure they haven't such lovely ones in Washington/' said 

Marion eagerly, as she skipped out. 
The two women moved to the open window, through 

which came the drone of bees and the distant music of the 

river falls. 

"Marion's greatest charm," whispered her mother, "is 

in her way of doing things easily and gently without a 

trace of effort. Watch her bend over to get that rose. Did 

you ever see anything like the grace and symmetry of her 

figure — she seems a living flower!" 

" Jeannie, you're making an idol of her " 

"Why not? With all our troubles and poverty, I'm 

rich in her! She's fifteen years old, her head teeming 

with romance. You know, I was married at fifteen. 

There'll be a half dozen boys to see her to-night in our 

new home — all of them head over heels in love with 

her." 

"Oh, Jeannie, you must not be so silly! We should 

worship God only." 

"Isn't she God's message to me and to the world?" 

"But if anything should happen to her " 

The young mother laughed. "I never think of it. 

Some things are fixed. Her happiness and beauty are to 

me the sign of God's presence." 

"Well, I'm glad you're coming to live with us in the 

heart of town. This place is a cosey nest, just such a one 

as a. poet lover would build here in the edge of these deep 

woods, but it is too far out for you to be alone. Dr. 

Cameron has been worrying about you ever since he came 

home." 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 191 

"I'm not afraid of the negroes. I don't know one of 
them who wouldn't go out of his way to do me a favour. 
Old Aleck is the only rascal I know among them, and he's 
too busy with politics now even to steal a chicken." 

"And Gus, the young scamp we used to own; you 
haven't forgotten him? He is back here, a member of 
the company of negro troops, and parades before the 
house every day to show off his uniform. Dr. Cameron 
told him yesterday he'd thrash him if he caught him hang- 
ing around the place again. He frightened Margaret 
nearly to death when she went to the barn to feed her 
horse." 

"I've never known the meaning of fear. We used to 
roam the woods and fields together all hours of the day 
and night: my lover, Marion, and I. This panic seems 
absurd to me." 

"Well, I'll be glad to get you two children under my 
wing. I was afraid I'd find you in tears over moving from 
your nest." 

"No, where Marion is I'm at home, and I'll feel I've a 
mother when I get with you." 

"Will you come to the hotel before they arrive? " 

"No; I'll welcome and tell them how glad I am they 
have brought me good luck." 

"I'm delighted, Jeannie. I wished you to do this, but 
I couldn't ask it. I can never do enough for this old 
man's daughter. We must make their stay happy. They 
say he's a terrible old Radical politician, but I suppose 
he's no meaner than the others. He's very iU r %fd she 
loves him devotedly. He is coming here to find health, 



192 The Clansman 

and not to insult us. Besides, he was kind to me. He 
wrote a letter to the President. Nothing that I have will 
be too good for him or for his. It's very brave and sweet 
of you to stay and meet them." 

"I'm doing it to please Marion. She suggested it last 
night/sitting out on the porch in the twilight. She slipped 
her arm around me and said: 

"'Mamma, we must welcome them and make them 
feel at home. He is very ill. They will be tired and home- 
sick. Suppose it were you and I, and we were taking my 
Papa to a strange place." 

When the Stonemans arrived, the old man was too ill 
and nervous from the fatigue of the long journey to notice 
his surroundings or to be conscious of the restful beauty 
of the cottage into which they carried him. His room 
looked out over the valley of the river for miles, and the 
glimpse he got of its broad fertile acres only confirmed 
his ideas of the " slaveholding oligarchy" it was his life- 
purpose to crush. Over the mantel hung a steel engrav- 
ing of Calhoun. He fell asleep with his deep, sunken 
eyes resting on it and a cynical smile playing about his 
grim mouth. 

r _ Margaret and Mrs. Cameron had met the Stonemans 
and their physician at the train, and taken Elsie and her 
father in the old weather-beaten family carriage to the 
Lenoir cottage, apologising for Ben's absence. 

"He has gone to Nashville on some important legal 
business, and the doctor is ailing, but as the head of the 
clan Cameron he told me to welcome your father to the 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 193 

hospitality of the county, and beg him to let us know if he 
could be of help." 

The old man, who sat in a stupor of exhaustion, made 
no response, and Elsie hastened to say: 

" We appreciate your kindness more than I can tell you, 
Mrs. Cameron. I trust father will be better in a day or 
two, when he will thank you. The trip has been more 
than he could bear." 

"lam expecting Ben home this week," the mother 
whispered. ' 1 1 need not tell you that he will be delighted 
at your coming." 

Elsie smiled and blushed. 

"And I'll expect Captain Stoneman to see me very 
soon," said Margaret softly. "You will not forget to 
tell him for me? " 

"He's a very retiring young man," said Elsie, "and 
pretends to be busy about our baggage just now. I'm 
sure he will find the way." 

Elsie fell in love at sight with Marion and her mother. 
Their easy genial manners, the genuineness of their wel- 
come, and the simple kindness with which they sought 
to make her feel at home put her heart into a warm 
glow. 

Mrs. Lenoir explained the conveniences of the place 
and apologized for its defects, the results of the war. 

"I am sorry about the window curtains — we have 
used them all for dresses. Marion is a genius with a 
needle, and we took the last pair out of the parlour to 
make a dress for a birthday party. The year before, we 
used the ones in my room for a costume at a starvation 



194 The Clansman 

party in a benefit for our rector — you know we're Episco- 
palians — strayed up here for our health from Charleston 
among these good Scotch Presbyterians." 

"We will soon place curtains at the windows," said 
Elsie cheerfully. 

"The carpets were sent to the soldiers for blankets dur- 
ing the war. It was all we could do for our poor boys, 
except to cut my hair and sell it. You see my hair hasn't 
grown out yet. I sent it to Richmond the last year of the 
war. I felt I must do something when my neighbours 
were giving so much. You know Mrs. Cameron lost 
four boys." 

"I prefer the floors bare," Elsie replied. "We will 
get a few rugs." 

She looked at the girlish hair hanging in ringlets about 
Mrs. Lenoir's handsome face, smiled pathetically, and 
asked : 

"Did you really make such sacrifices for your cause?" 

"Yes, indeed. I was glad when the war was ended for 
some things. We certainly needed a few pins, needles, 
and buttons, to say nothing of a cup of coffee or tea." 

"I trust you will never lack for anything again," said 
Elsie kindly. 

"You will bring us good luck," Mrs. Lenoir responded. 
"Your coming is so fortunate. The cotton tax Congress 
levied was so heavy this year we were going to lose 
everything. Such a tax when we are all about to starve! 
Dr. Cameron says it was an act of stupid vengeance on 
the South, and that no other farmers in America have 
their crops taxed by the National Government. I am so 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 195 

glad your father has come. He is not hunting for an 
office. He can help us, maybe." 

"lam sure he will," answered Elsie thoughtfully. 

Marion ran up the steps lightly, her hair dishevelled 
and face flushed. 

"Now, Mamma, it's almost sundown; you get ready to 
go. I want her awhile to show her about my things." 

She took Elsie shyly by the hand and led her into the 
lawn, while her mother paid a visit to each room, and 
made up the last bundle of odds and ends she meant to 
carry to the hotel. 

"I hope you will love the place as we do," said the 
girl simply. 

"I think it very beautiful and restful," Elsie replied. 
"This wilderness of flowers looks like fairyland. You 
have roses running on the porch around the whole length 
of the house." 

"Yes, Papa was crazy over the trailing roses, and kept 
planting them until the house seems just a frame built to 
hold them, with a roof on it. But you can see the river 
through the arches from three sides. Ben Cameron 
helped me set that big beauty on the south corner the 
day he ran away to the war " 

"The view is glorious!" Elsie exclaimed, looking in 
rapture over the river valley. 

The village of Piedmont crowned an immense hill on 
the banks of the Broad River, just where it dashes 
over the last stone barrier in a series of beautiful falls 
and spreads out in peaceful glory through the plains to- 
ward Columbia and the distant sea. The muffled roar 



196 The Clansman 

of these falls, rising softly through the trees on its wooded 
cliff, held the daily life of the people in the spell of distant 
music. In fair weather it soothed and charmed, and in 
storm and freshet rose to the deep solemn growl of 
thunder. 

The river made a sharp bend as it emerged from the 
hills and flowed westward for six miles before it turned 
south again. Beyond this six-mile sweep of its broad 
channel loomed the three ranges of the Blue Ridge Moun- 
tains, the first one dark, rich, distinct, clothed in eternal 
green, the last one melting in dim lines into the clouds 
and soft azure of the sky. 

As the sun began to sink now behind these distant 
peaks, each cloud that hung about them burst into a 
blazing riot of colour. The silver mirror of the river 
caught their shadows, and the water glowed in sympathy. 

As Elsie drank the beauty of the scene, the music of the 
falls ringing its soft accompaniment, her heart went out 
in a throb of love and pity for the land and its people. 

"Can you blame us for loving such a spot?" said Mar- 
ion. "It's far more beautiful from the cliff at Lover's 
Leap. I'll take you there some day. My father used to 
tell me that this world was Heaven, and that the spirits 
would all come back to live here when sin and shame and 
strife were gone." 

"Are your father's poems published?" asked Elsie. 

"Only in the papers. We have them clipped and 
pasted in a scrapbook. I'll show you the one about Ben 
Cameron some day. You met him in Washington, didn't 
you?" 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 197 

''Yes," said Elsie quietly. 

"Then I know he made love to you." 

"Why?" 

"You're so pretty. He couldn't help it." 

"Does he make love to every pretty girl? " 

"Always. It's his religion. But he does it so beauti- 
fully you can't help believing it, until you compare notes 
with the other girls." 

"Did he make love to you?" 

"He broke my heart when he ran away. I cried a 
whole week. But I got over it. He seemed so big and 
grown when he came home this last time. I was afraid 
to let him kiss me." 

"Did he dare to try?" 

"No, and it hurt my feelings. You see, I'm not quite 
old enough to be serious with the big boys, and he looked 
so brave and handsome with that ugly scar on the edge 
of his forehead, and everybody was so proud of him. I 
was just dying to kiss him, and I thought it downright 
mean in him not to offer it." 

"Would you have let him?" 

"I expected him to try." 

"He is very popular in Piedmont?" 

"Every girl in town is in love with him."i 

"And he in love with all?" 

"He pretends to be — but between us, he's a great flirt. 
He's gone to Nashville now on some pretended business. 
Goodness only knows where he got the money to go. I 
believe there's a girl there." 

"Why?" 



198 The Clansman 

"Because he was so mysterious about his trip. I'll 
keep an eye on him at the hotel. You know Margaret, 
too, don't you?" 

"Yes; we met her in Washington." 

"Well, she's the slyest flirt in town — it runs in the 
blood — has a half-dozen beaux to see her every day. She 
plays the organ in the Presbyterian Sunday school, and 
the young minister is dead in love with her. They say 
they are engaged. I don't believe it. I think it's an- 
other one. But I must hurry, I've so much to show and 
tell you. Come here to the honeysuckle " 

Marion drew the vines apart from the top of the fence 
and revealed a mocking-bird on her nest. 

" She's setting. Don't let anything hurt her. I'd push 
her of! and show you her speckled eggs, but it's so late." 

"Oh, I wouldn't hurt her for the world!" cried Elsie 
with delight. 

"And right here," said Marion, bending gracefully 
over a tall bunch of grass, "is a pee-wee's nest, four darl- 
ing little eggs; look out for that." 

Elsie bent and saw the pretty nest perched on stems of 
grass, and over it the taller leaves drawn to a point. 

"Isn't it cute!" she murmured. 

"Yes; I've six of these and three mocking-bird nests. 
I'll show them to you. But the most particular one of 
all is the wren's nest in the fork of the cedar, close to the 
house." 

She led Elsie to the tree, and about two feet from the 
ground, in the forks of the trunk, was a tiny hole from 
which peeped the eyes of a wren. 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 199 

"Whatever you do, don't let anything hurt her. Her 
mate sings ■ Free-nigger I Free-nigger! Free-nigger I' 
every morning in this cedar." 

"And you think we will specially enjoy that?" asked 
Elsie, laughing. 

"Now, really," cried Marion, taking Elsie's hand, 
"you know I couldn't think of such a mean joke. I for- 
got you were from the North. You seem so sweet and 
homelike. He really does sing that way. You will hear 
him in the morning, bright and early, 'Free-nigger! Free- 
nigger I Free-nigger!' just as plain as I'm saying it." 

"And did you learn to find all these birds' nests by 
yourself? " 

"Papa taught me. I've got some jay-birds and some 
cat-birds so gentle they hop right down at my feet. Some 
people hate jay-birds. But I like them, they seem to be 
having such a fine time and enjoy life so. You don't 
mind jay-birds, do you?" 

"I love every bird that flies." 

"Except hawks and owls and buzzards " 

"Well, I've seen so few I can't say I've anything par- 
ticular against them." 

"Yes, they eat chickens — except the buzzards, and 
they're so ugly and filthy. Now, I've a chicken to show 
you — please don't let Aunt Cindy — she's to be your cook 
— please don't let her kill him — he's crippled — has some- 
thing the matter with his foot. He was born that way. 
Everybody wanted to kill him, but I wouldn't let them. 
I've had an awful time raising him, but he's all right 
now." 



200 The Clansman 

Marion lifted a box and showed her the lame pet, softly 
clucking his protest against the disturbance of his rest. 

'I'll take good care of him, never fear," said Elsie, with 
a tremor in her voice. 

"And I have a queer little black cat I wanted to show 
you, but he's gone off somewhere. I'd take him with 
me — only it's bad luck to move cats. He's awful wild — 
won't let anybody pet him but me. Mamma says he's an 
imp of Satan — but I love him. He runs up a tree when 
anybody else tries to get him. But he climbs right up on 
my shoulder. I never loved any cat quite as well as this 
silly, half-wild one. You don't mind black cats, do you? " 

"No, dear; I like cats." 

"Then I know you'll be good to him." 

"Is that all?" asked Elsie, with amused interest. 

"No, I've the funniest yellow dog that comes here at 
night to pick up the scraps and things. He isn't my dog — 
just a little personal friend of mine — but I like him very 
much, and always give him something. He's very cute. 
I think he's a nigger dog." 

"A nigger dog? What's that?" 

"He belongs to some coloured people, who don't give 
him enough to eat. I love him because he's so faithful 
to his own folks. He comes to see me at night and pre- 
tends to love me, but as soon as I feed him he trots back 
home. When he first came, I laughed till I cried at his 
antics over a carpet — we had a carpet then. He never 
saw one before, and barked at the colours and the figures 
in the pattern. Then he'd lie down and rub his back 
on it and growl. You won't let anybody hurt him? " 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion [201 

"No. Are there any others? " 

"Yes, I 'most forgot. If Sam Ross comes — Sam's an 
idiot who lives at the poorhouse — if he comes, he'll expect 
a dinner — my, my, I'm afraid he'll cry when he finds 
we're not here ! But you can send him to the hotel to me. 
Don't let Aunt Cindy speak rough to him. Aunt Cindy's 
awfully good to me, but she can't bear Sam. She thinks 
he brings bad luck." 

"How on earth did you meet him?" 

"His father was rich. He was a good friend of my 
Papa's. We came near losing our farm once, because a 
bank failed. Mr. Ross sent Papa a signed check on his 
own bank, and told him to write the amount he needed on 
it, and pay him when he was able. Papa cried over it, 
and wouldn't use it, and wrote a poem on the back of the 
check — one of the sweetest of all, I think. In the war 
Mr. Ross lost his two younger sons, both killed at Gettys- 
burg. His wife died heartbroken, and he only lived a 
year afterward. He sold his farm for Confederate money 
and everything was lost. Sam was sent to the poorhouse. 
He found out somehow that we loved him and comes to 
see us. He's as harmless as a kitten, and works in the 
garden beautifully." 

"I'll remember," Elsie promised. 

"And one thing more," she said hesitatingly. 
"Mamma asked me to speak to you of this — that's 
why she slipped away. There one little room we have 
locked. It was Papa's study just as he left it, with his 
papers scattered on the desk, the books and pictures that 
he loved — you won't mind? " 



202 The Clansman 

Elsie slipped her arm about Marion, looked into the 
blue eyes, dim with tears, drew her close and said : 

"It shall be sacred, my child. You must come every 
day if possible, and help me." 

"I will. I've so many beautiful places to show you 
in the woods — places he loved, and taught us to see and 
love. They won't let me go in the woods any more alone. 
But you have a big brother. That must be very sweet" 

Mrs. Lenoir hurried to Elsie. 

" Come, Marion, we must be going now." 

"I am very sorry to see you leave the home you love so 
dearly, Mrs. Lenoir," said the Northern girl, taking her 
extended hand. "I hope you can soon find a way to have 
it back." 

"Thank you," replied the mother cheerily. "The 
longer you stay, the better for us. You don't know how 
happy I am over your coming. It has lifted a load from 
our hearts. In the liberal rent you pay us you are our 
benefactors. We are very grateful and happy." 

Elsie watched them walk across the lawn to the street, 
the daughter leaning on the mother's arm. She followed 
slowly and stopped behind one of the arbor- vitae bushes 
beside the gate. The full moon had risen as the twilight 
fell and flooded the scene with soft white light. A whip- 
poorwill struck his first plaintive note, his weird song 
seeming to come from all directions and yet to be under 
her feet. She heard the rustle of dresses returning along 
the walk, and Marion and her mother stood at the gate. 
They looked long and tenderly at the house. Mrs. Lenoir 
uttered a broken sob, Marion slipped an arm around her, 



A Fallen Slaveholder's Mansion 203 

brushed the short curling hair back from her forehead, 
and softly said: 

"Mamma, dear, you know it's best. I don't mind. 
Everybody in town loves us. Every boy and girl in 
Piedmont worships you. We will be just as happy at the 
hotel." 

In the pauses between the strange bird's cry, Elsie 
caught the sound of another sob, and then a soothing 
murmur as of a mother bending over a cradle, and they 
were gone. 



CHAPTER II 

The Eyes of tbe Jungle 

ELSIE stood dreaming for a moment in the shadow 
of the arbor-vitae, breathing the sensuous per- 
fumed air and listening to the distant music of 
the falls, her heart quivering in pity for the anguish of 
which she had been a witness. Again the spectral cry 
of the whippoorwill rang near-by, and she noted for the 
first time the curious cluck with which the bird punctu- 
ated each call. A sense of dim foreboding oppressed her. 

She wondered if the chatter of Marion about the girl 
in Nashville were only a child's guess or more. She 
laughed softly at the absurdity of the idea. Never since 
she had first looked into Ben Cameron's face did she feel 
surer of the honesty and earnestness of his love than to- 
day in this quiet home of his native village. It must be 
the queer call of the bird which appealed to superstitions 
she did not know were hidden within her being. 

Still dreaming under its spell, she was startled at the 
tread of two men approaching the gate. 

The taller, more powerful-looking man put his hand 
on the latch and paused. 

' ' Allow no white man to order you around. Remember 
you are a freeman and as good as any pale-face who walks 
this earth." 

204 



The Eyes of the Jungle 205 

She recognized the voice of Silas Lynch. 

"Ben Cameron dare me to come about de house," said 
the other voice. 

"What did he say?" 

"He say, wid his eyes batten' des like lightnen', 'Ef I 
ketch you hangin' 'roun' dis place agin', Gus, I'll jump 
on you en stomp de life outen ye.' " 

"Well, you tell him that your name is Augustus, not 
' Gus,' and that the United States troops quartered in this 
town will be with him soon after the stomping begins. 
You wear its uniform. Give the white trash in this town 
to understand that they are not even citizens of the 
nation. As a sovereign voter, you, once their slave, are 
not only their equal — you are their master." 

"Dat I will! " was the firm answer. 

The negro to whom Lynch spoke disappeared in the 
direction taken by Marion and her mother, and the figure 
of the handsome mulatto passed rapidly up the walk, 
ascended the steps and knocked at the door. 

Elsie followed him. 

" My father is too much fatigued with his journey to be 
seen now; you must call to-morrow," she said. 

The negro lifted his hat and bowed: 

"Ah, we are delighted to welcome you, Miss Stoneman, 
to our land ! Your father asked me to call immediately on 
his arrival. I have but obeyed his orders." 

Elsie shrank from the familiarity of his manner and 
the tones of authority and patronage with which he 
spoke. 

"He cannot be seen at this hour," she answered shortly. 



206 The Clansman 

"Perhaps you will present my card, then — say that I 
am at his service, and let him appoint the time at which 
I shall return?" 

She did not invite him in, but with easy assurance he 
took his seat on the joggle-board beside the door and 
awaited her return. 

Against her urgent protest, Stoneman ordered Lynch to 
be shown at once to his bedroom. 

When the door was closed, the old Commoner, without 
turning to greet his visitor or moving his position in bed, 
asked: 

" Are you following my instructions? " 

"To the letter, sir." 

"You are initiating the negroes into the League and 
teaching them the new catechism? " 

"With remarkable success. Its secrecy and ritual 
appeal to them. Within six months we shall have the 
whole race under our control almost to a man." 

''Almost to a man?" 

"We find some so attached to their former masters that 
reason is impossible with them. Even threats and the 
promise of forty acres of land have no influence." 

The old man snorted with contempt. 

"If anything could reconcile me to the Satanic Institu- 
tion it is the character of the wretches who submit to it 
and kiss the hand that strikes. After all, a slave deserves 
to be a slave. The man who is mean enough to wear 
chains ought to wear them. You must teach, teach, 
teach these black hounds to know they are men, not 
brutes!" 



The Eyes of the Jungle 207 

The old man paused a moment, and his restless hands 
fumbled the cover. 

"Your first task, as I told you in the beginning, is to 
teach every negro to stand erect in the presence of his 
former master and assert his manhood. Unless he does 
this, the South will bristle with bayonets in vain. The 
man who believes he is a dog, is one. The man who be- 
lieves himself a king, may become one. Stop this snivel- 
ling and sneaking round the back doors. I can do nothing, 
God Almighty can do nothing, for a coward. Fix this as 
the first law of your own life. Lift up your head! The 
world is yours. Take it. Beat this into the skulls of 
your people, if you do it with an axe. Teach them the 
military drill at once. I'll see that Washington sends 
the guns. The state, when under your control, can 
furnish the powder." 

"It will surprise you to know the thoroughness with 
which this has been done already by the League," said 
Lynch. "The white master believed he could vote the 
negro as he worked him in the fields during the war. The 
League, with its blue flaming altar, under the shadows 
of night, has wrought a miracle. The negro is the enemy 
of his former master and will be for all time." 

"For the present," said the old man meditatively, 
"not a word to a living soul as to my connection with this 
work. When the time is ripe, I'll show my hand." 

Elsie entered, protesting against her father's talking 
longer, and showed Lynch to the door. 

He paused on the moonlit porch and tried to engage her 
in familiar talk. 



208 The Clansman 

*j. She cut him short, and he left reluctantly. 

As he bowed his thick neck in pompous courtesy, she 
eaught with a shiver the odour of pomade on his black half- 
kinked hair. He stopped on the lower step, looked back 
with smiling insolence, and gazed intently at her beauty. 
The girl shrank from the gleam of the jungle in his eyes 
and hurried within. 

She found her father sunk in a stupor. Her cry brought 
the young surgeon hurrying into the room, and at the end 
of an hour he said to Elsie and Phil: 

"He has had a stroke of paralysis. He may lie in 
mental darkness for months and then recover. His heart 
action is perfect. Patience, care, and love will save him. 
There is no cause for immediate alarm." 



CHAPTER III 

Augustus C^sar 

PHIL early found the home of the Camerons the 
most charming spot in town. As he sat in the 
old-fashioned parlour beside Margaret, his brain 
seethed with plans for building a hotel on a large scale on 
the other side of the Square and restoring her home intact. 

The Cameron homestead was a large brick building 
with an ample porch looking out directly on the Court 
House Square, standing in the middle of a lawn full of 
trees, flowers, shrubbery, and a wilderness of evergreen 
boxwood planted fifty years before. It was located on the 
farm from which it had always derived its support. The 
farm extended up into the village itself, with the great 
barn easily seen from the street. 

Phil was charmed with the doctor's genial personality. 
He often found the father a decidedly easier person to get 
along with than his handsome daughter. The Rev. 
Hugh McAlpin was a daily caller, and Margaret had a 
tantalizing way of showing her deference to his opinions. 

Phil hated this preacher from the moment he laid eyes 
on him. His pugnacious piety he might have endured 
but for the fact that he was good-looking and eloquent. 
When he rose in the pulpit in all his sacred dignity, fixed 
his eyes on Margaret, and began in tenderly modulated 
209 



210 The Clansman 

voice to tell about the love of God, Phil clinched his fist. 
He didn't care to join the Presbyterian church, but he 
quietly made up his mind that, if it came to the worst 
and she asked him, he would join anything. What made 
him furious was the air of assurance with which the young 
divine carried himself about Margaret, as if he had but to 
say the word and it would be fixed as by a decree issued 
from before the foundations of the world. 

He was pleased and surprised to find that his being a 
Yankee made no difference in his standing or welcome. 
The people seemed unconscious of the part his father 
played at Washington. Stoneman's Confiscation Bill 
had not yet been discussed in Congress, and the promise 
of land to the negroes was universally regarded as a hoax 
of the League to win their followers. The old Commoner 
was not an orator. Hence his name was scarcely known 
in the South. The Southern people could not conceive of 
a great leader except one who expressed his power through 
the megaphone of oratory. They held Charles Sumner 
chiefly responsible for Reconstruction. 

The fact that Phil was a Yankee who had no axe to 
grind in the South caused the people to appeal to him in 
a pathetic way that touched his heart. He had not been 
in town two weeks before he was on good terms with 
every youngster, had the entree to every home, and Ben 
had taken him, protesting vehemently, to see every pretty 
girl there. He found that, in spite of war and poverty, 
troubles present and troubles to come, the young South- 
ern woman was the divinity that claimed and received 
the chief worship of man. 



Augustus Caesar 211 

The tremendous earnestness with which these young- 
sters pursued the work of courting, all of them so poor 
they scarcely had enough to eat, amazed and alarmed 
him beyond measure. He found in several cases as many 
as four making a dead set for one girl, as if heaven and 
earth depended on the outcome, while the girl seemed to 
receive it all as a matter of course — her just tribute. 

Every instinct of his quiet reserved nature revolted at 
any such attempt to rush his cause with Margaret, and 
yet it made the cold chills run down his spine to see that 
Presbyterian preacher drive his buggy up to the hotel, 
take her to ride, and stay three hours. He knew where 
they had gone — to Lover's Leap and along the beautiful 
road which led to the North Carolina line. He knew the 
way — Margaret had showed him. This road was the Way 
of Romance. Every farmhouse, cabin, and shady nook 
along its beaten track could tell its tale of lovers fleeing 
from the North to find happiness in the haven of matri- 
mony across the line in South Carolina. Everything 
seemed to favour marriage in this climate. The state 
required no license. A legal marriage could be celebrated, 
anywhere, at any time, by a minister in the presence of 
two witnesses, with or without the consent of parent or 
guardian. Marriage was the easiest thing in the state — 
divorce the one thing impossible. Death alone could 
grant divorce. 

He was now past all reason in love. He followed the 
movement of Margaret's queenly figure with pathetic 
abandonment. Beneath her beautiful manners he swore 
with a shiver that she was laughing at him. Now and 



212 jThe Clansman 

then he caught a funny expression about her eyes, as 
if she were consumed with a sly sense of humour in her 
love affairs. 

What he felt to be his manliest traits, his reserve, dig- 
nity, and moral earnestness, she must think cold and slow 
beside the dash, fire, and assurance of these Southerners. 
He could tell by the way she encouraged the preacher 
before his eyes that she was criticizing and daring him 
to let go for once. Instead of doing it, he sank back 
appalled at the prospect and let the preacher carry 
her off again. 

He sought solace in Dr. Cameron, who was utterly 
oblivious of his daughter's love affairs. 

Phil was constantly amazed at the variety of his knowl- 
edge, the genuineness of his culture, his modesty, and the 
note of youth and cheer with which he still pursued the 
study of medicine. 

His company was refreshing for its own sake. The 
slender graceful figure, ruddy face, with piercing, dark- 
brown eyes in startling contrast to his snow-white hair 
and beard, had for Phil a perpetual charm. He never 
tired listening to his talk, and noting the peculiar grace 
and dignity with which he carried himself, unconscious 
of the commanding look of his brilliant eyes. 

"I hear that you have used hypnotism in your 
practice, Doctor," Phil said to him one day, as he 
watched with fascination the changing play of his mobile 
features. 

"Oh, yes! used it for years. Southern doctors have 
always been pioneers in the science of medicine. Dr. 



Augustus Caesar , 213 

Crawford Long, of Georgia, you know, was the first prac- 
titioner in America to apply anesthesia to surgery." 

"But where did you run up against hypnotism? I 
thought this a new thing under the sun?" - 

The doctor laughed. 

"It's not a home industry, exactly. I became inter- 
ested in it in Edinburgh while a medical student, and 
pursued it with increased interest in Paris." 

"Did you study medicine abroad?" Phil asked in 
surprise. 

"Yes; I was poor, but I managed to raise and to bor- 
row enough to take three years on the other side. I put 
all I had and all my credit in it. I've never regretted the 
sacrific6. The more I saw of the great world, the better 
I liked my own world. I've given these farmers and their 
families the best God gave to me." 

"Do you find much use for your powers of hypnosis?" 
Phil asked. 

"Only in an experimental way. Naturally I am 
endowed with this gift — especially over certain classes 
who are easily the subjects of extreme fear. I owned a 
rascally slave named Gus whom I used to watch stealing. 
Suddenly confronting him, I've thrown him into uncon- 
sciousness with a steady gaze of the eye, until he would 
drop on his face, trembling like a leaf, unable to speak 
until I allowed him." 

"How do you account for such powers?" 

"I don't account for them at all. They belong to the 
world of spiritual phenomena of which we know so little 
and yet which touch our material lives at a thousand 



214 The Clansman 

points every day. How do we account for sleep and 
dreams, or second sight, or the day dreams which we call 
visions?" 

Phil was silent, and the doctor went on dreamily: 

"The day my boy Richard was killed at Gettysburg, I 
saw him lying dead in a field near a house. I saw some 
soldiers bury him in the corner of that field, and then an 
old man go to the grave, dig up his body, cart it away into 
the woods, and throw it into a ditch. I saw it before I 
heard of the battle or knew that he was in it. He was 
reported killed, and his body has never been found. It is 
the one unspeakable horror of the war to me. I'll never 
get over it." 

"How very strange!" exclaimed Phil. 

"And yet the war was nothing, my boy, to the horrors 
I feel clutching the throat of the South to-day. I'm glad 
you and your father are down here. Your disinterested 
view of things may help us at Washington when we need 
it most. The South seems to have no friend at court." 

"Your younger men, I find, are hopeful, Doctor," said 
Phil. 

"Yes, the young never see danger until it's time to die. 
I'm not a pessimist, but I was happier in jail. Scores of 
my old friends have given up in despair and died. Deli- 
cate and cultured women are living on cowpeas, corn 
bread, and molasses — and of such quality they would not 
have fed it to a slave. Children go to bed hungry. 
Droves of brutal negroes roam at large, stealing, mur- 
dering, and threatening blacker crimes. We are under 
the heel of petty military tyrants, few of whom ever 




HENRY WALTHALL AS BEN CAMERON, 
'The Birth of a Nation." 



Augustus Caesar 215 

smelled gunpowder in a battle. At the approaching 
election, not a decent white man in this country can take 
the infamous test oath. I am disfranchised because I 
gave a cup of water to the lips of one of my dying boys on 
the battlefield. My slaves are all voters. There will be 
a negro majority of more than one hundred thousand in 
this state. Desperadoes are here teaching these negroes 
insolence and crime in their secret societies. The future 
is a nightmare." 

"You have my sympathy, sir," said Phil warmly, ex- 
tending his hand. "These Reconstruction Acts, con- 
ceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity, can bring only 
shame and disgrace until the last trace of them is wiped 
from our laws. I hope it will not be necessary to do it in 
blood." 

The doctor was deeply touched. He could not be mis- 
taken in the genuineness of any man's feeling. He never 
dreamed this earnest straightforward Yankee youngster 
was in love with Margaret, and it would have made no 
difference in the accuracy of his judgment. 

"Your sentiments do you honour, sir," he said with 
grave courtesy. "And you honour us and our town with 
your presence and friendship." 

As Phil hurried home in a warm glow of sympathy for 
the people whose hospitality had made him their friend 
and champion, he encountered a negro trooper standing 
on the corner, watching the Cameron house with furtive 
glance. 

Instinctively he stopped, surveyed the man from head 
to foot and asked: 



216 i The Clansman 

"What's the trouble?" 

"None er yo' business," the negro answered, slouching 
across to the opposite side of the street. 

Phil watched him with disgust. He had the short, 
heavy-set neck of the lower order of animals. His skin 
was coal black, his lips so thick they curled both ways up 
and down with crooked blood marks across them. His 
nose was flat, and its enormous nostrils seemed in per- 
petual dilation. The sinister bead eyes, with brown 
splotches in their whites, were set wide apart and gleamed 
apelike under his scant brows. His enormous cheek- 
bones and jaws seemed to protrude beyond the ears 
and almost hide them. 

"That we should send such soldiers here to flaunt our 
uniform in the faces of these people!" he exclaimed, with 
bitterness. 

He met Ben hurrying home from a visit to Elsie. The 
two young soldiers whose prejudices had melted in the 
white heat of battle had become fast friends. 

Phil laughed and winked: 

"I'll meet you to-night around the family altar!" 

When he reached home, Ben saw, slouching in front of 
the house, walking back and forth and glancing furtively 
behind him, the negro trooper whom his friend had 
passed. 

He walked quickly in front of him, and blinking his 
eyes rapidly, said: 

"Didn't I tell you, Gus, not to let me catch you hang- 
ing around this house again?" 

The negro drew himself up, pulling his blue uniform 



Augustus Caesar 217 

into position as his body stretched out of its habitual 
slouch, and answered: 

"My name ain't 'Gus.'" 

Ben gave a quick little chuckle and leaned back against 
the palings, his hand resting on one that was loose. He 
glanced at the negro carelessly and said : 

"Well, Augustus Caesar, I give your majesty thirty 
seconds to move off the block." 

Gus' first impulse was to run, but remembering himself 
he threw back his shoulders and said: 

"I reckon de streets free " 

"Yes, and so is kindling wood!" 

Quick as a flash of lightning the paling suddenly left 
the fence and broke three times in such bewildering rapid- 
ity on the negro's head he forgot everything he ever knew 
or thought he knew save one thing — the way to run. He 
didn't fly, but he made remarkable use of the facilities 
with which he had been endowed. 

Ben watched him disappear toward the camp. 

He picked up the pieces of paling, pulled a strand of 
black wool from a splinter, looked at it curiously and said: 

"A sprig of his majesty's hair — I'll doubtless remember 
him without it!" 



CHAPTER IV 

At the Point of the Bayonet 

WITHIN an hour from Ben's encounter he was 
arrested without warrant by the military 
commandant, handcuffed, and placed on the 
train for Columbia, more than a hundred miles distant. 
The first purpose of sending him in charge of a negro guard 
was abandoned for fear of a riot. A squad of white troops 
accompanied him. 

Elsie was waiting at the gate, watching for his coming, 
her heart aglow with happiness. 

When Marion and little Hugh ran to tell the exciting 
news, she thought it a joke and refused to believe it. 

"Come, dear, don't tease me; you know it's not true!" 

"I wish I may die if 'tain't so!" Hugh solemnly de- 
clared. "He run Gus away 'cause he scared Aunt Mar- 
garet so. They come and put handcuffs on him and took 
him to Columbia. I tell you Grandpa and Grandma and 
Aunt Margaret are mad!" 

Elsie called Phil and begged him to see what had hap- 
pened. 

When Phil reported Ben's arrest without a warrant, and 
the indignity to which he had been subjected on the 
amazing charge of resisting military authority, Elsie hur- 
ried with Marion and Hugh to the hotel to express her 



At the Point of the Bayonet 219 

indignation, and sent Phil to Columbia on the next train 
to fight for his release. 

By the use of a bribe Phil discovered that a special in- 
quisition had been hastily organized to procure perjured 
testimony against Ben on the charge of complicity in the 
murder of a carpet-bag adventurer named Ashburn, who 
had been killed at Columbia in a row in a disreput- 
able resort. This murder had occurred the week Ben 
Cameron was in Nashville. The enormous reward of 
$25,000 had been offered for the conviction of any man 
who could be implicated in the killing. Scores of venal 
wretches, eager for this blood money, were using 
every device of military tyranny to secure evidence on 
which to convict — no matter who the man might be. 
Within six hours of his arrival they had pounced on 
Ben. 

They arrested as a witness an old negro named John 
Stapler, noted for his loyalty to the Camerons. The 
doctor had saved his life once in a dangerous illness. 
They were going to put him to torture and force him to 
swear that Ben Cameron had tried to bribe him to kill 
Ashburn. General Howie, the Commandant of the Co- 
lumbia district, was in Charleston on a visit to head- 
quarters. 

Phil resorted to the ruse of pretending, as a Yankee, the 
deepest sympathy for Ashburn, and by the payment of a 
fee of twenty dollars to the Captain, was admitted to the 
fort to witness the torture. 

They led the old man trembling into the presence of the 
Captain, who sat on an improvised throne in full uniform. 



220 The Clansman 

"Have you ordered a barber to shave this man's head? " 
sternly asked the judge. 

"Please, Marster, fer de Lawd's sake, I am' done 
nuttin' — doan' shave my head. Dat ha'r been wropped 
lak dat fur ten year ! I die sho' ef I lose my ha'r." 

"Bring the barber, and take him back until he comes," 
was the order. In an hour they led him again into the 
room blindfolded, and placed him in a chair. 

"Have you let him see a preacher before putting 
him through?" the Captain asked. "I have an order 
from the General in Charleston to put him through to- 
day." 

"For Gawd's sake, Marster, doan' put me froo — I ain't 
done nuttin' en I doan' know nuttin'!" 

The old negro slipped to his knees, trembling from head 
to foot. 

The guards caught him by the shoulders and threw him 
back into the chair. The bandage was removed, and just 
in front of him stood a brass cannon pointed at his head, 
a soldier beside it holding the string ready to pull. John 
threw himself backward, yelling: 

"Goddermighty!" 

When he scrambled to his feet and started to run, an- 
other cannon swung on him from the rear. He dropped 
to his knees and began to pray. 

"Yas, Lawd, I'se er comin'; I hain't ready — but, 
Lawd, I got ter come ! Save me!" 

" Shave him ! " the Captain ordered. 

While the old man sat moaning, they lathered his head 
with two scrubbing-brushes and shaved it clean. 



At the Point of the Bayonet 221 

"Now stand him up by the wall and measure him for 
his coffin," was the order. 

They snatched him from the chair, pushed him against 
the wall, and measured him. While they were taking his 
measure, the man next to him whispered: 

"Now's the time to save your hide — tell all about Ben 
Cameron trying to hire you to kill Ashburn." 

"Give him a few minutes," said the Captain, "and 
maybe we can hear what Mr. Cameron said about Ash- 
burn." 

"I doan' know nuttin', General," pleaded the old 
darkey. "I ain't heard nuttin' — I ain't seed Marse Ben 
fer two monts." 

"You needn't lie to us. The rebels have been posting 
you. But it's no use. We'll get it out of you." 
" 'Fo' Gawd, Marster, I'se telling de truf ! " 
"Put him in the dark cell and keep him there the bal- 
ance of his life unless he tells," was the order. 

At the end of four days, Phil was summoned again to 
witness the show. 

John was carried to another part of the fort and shown 
the sweat-box. 

"Now tell all you know or in you go!" said his tor- 
mentor. 

The negro looked at the engine of torture in abject ter- 
ror — a closet in the walls of the fort just big enough to 
admit the body, with an adjustable top to press down too 
low for the head to be held erect. The door closed tight 
against the breast of the victim. The only air admitted 
was through an auger-hole in the door. 



222 The Clansman , 

The old man's lips moved in prayer. 

"Will you tell? " growled the Captain. 

"I cain't tell ye nuttin' 'cept'n' a lie ! " he moaned. 

They thrust him in, slammed the door, and in a loud 
voice the Captain said: 

"Keep him there for thirty days unless he tells." 

He was left in the agony of the sweat-box for thirty- 
three hours and taken out. His limbs were swollen and 
when he attempted to walk he tottered and fell. 

The guard jerked him to his feet, and the Captain said: 

"I'm afraid we've taken him out too soon, but if he 
don't tell he can go back and finish the month out." 

The poor old negro dropped in a faint, and they carried 
him back to his cell. 

Phil determined to spare no means, fair or foul, to 
secure Ben's release from the clutches of these devils. He 
had as yet been unable to locate his place of confinement. 

He continued his ruse of friendly curiosity, kept in 
touch with the Captain, and the Captain in touch with 
his pocketbook. 

Summoned to witness another interesting ceremony, he 
hurried to the fort. 

The officer winked at him confidentially, and took him 
out to a row of dungeons built of logs and ceiled inside 
with heavy boards. A single pane of glass about eight 
inches square admitted light ten feet from the ground. 

There was a commotion inside, curses, groans, and cries 
for mercy mingling in rapid succession. 

"What is it?" asked Phil. 

"Hell's goin' on in there!" laughed the officer. 



At the Point of the Bayonet 223 

"Evidently." 

A heavy crash, as though a ton weight had struck the 
floor, and then all was still. 

"By George, it's too bad we can't see it all!" exclaimed 
the officer. 

"What does it mean?" urged Phil. 

Again the Captain laughed immoderately. 

"I've got a blue-blood in there taking the bluin' out of 
his system. He gave me some impudence. I'm teaching 
him who's running this country!" 

"What are you doing to him?" Phil asked with a 
sudden suspicion. 

"Oh, just having a little fun! I put two big white 
drunks in there with him — half-fighting drunks, you 
know — and told them to work on his teeth and manicure 
his face a little to initiate him into the ranks of the com- 
mon people, so to speak!" 

Again he laughed. 

Phil, listening at the keyhole, held up his hand : 

"Hush, they're talking " 

He could hear Ben Cameron's voice in the softest drawl? 

"Say it again." 

"Please, Marster!" 

"Now both together, and a little louder!" 

"Please, Marster" came the united chorus. 

"Now what kind of a dog did I say you are? " 

"The kind as comes when his marster calls." 

"Both together — the under dog seems to have too much 
cover, like his mouth might be full of cotton." 

They repeated it louder. 



224 The Clansman 

"A common — stump-tailed — cur-dog? " 

"Yessir." 

"Say it." 

"A common — stump-tailed — cur-dog — Marster ! " 

"A pair of them." 

"A pair of 'em." 

"No, the whole thing — all together — 'we — are — a — 
pair!" 

"Yes — Marster." They repeated it in chorus. 

"With apologies to the dogs " 

"Apologies to the dogs " 

"And why does your master honour the kennel with his 
presence to-day? " 

"He hit a nigger on the head so hard that he strained 
the nigger's ankle, and he's restin' from his labours." 

"That's right, Towser. If I had you and Tige a few 
hours every day I could make good squirrel-dogs out of 
you." 

There was a pause. Phil looked up and smiled. 

"What does it sound like?" asked the Captain, with a 
shade of doubt in his voice. 

"Sounds to me like a Sunday-school teacher taking his 
class through a new catechism." 

The Captain fumbled hurriedly for his keys. 

"There's something wrong in there." 

He opened the door and sprang in. 

Ben Cameron was sitting on top of the two toughs, knock- 
ing their heads together as they repeated each chorus. 

"Walk in, gentlemen. The show is going on now — the 
animals are doing beautifully," said Ben. 



At the Point of the Bayonet 225 

The Captain muttered an oath. Phil suddenly grasped 
him by the throat, hurled him against the wall, and 
snatched the keys from his hand. 

"Now open your mouth, you white-livered cur, and 
inside of twenty-four hours I'll have you behind the bars. 
I have all the evidence I need. I'm an ex-officer of the 
United States Army, of the fighting corps — not the vul- 
ture division. This is my friend. Accompany us to the 
street and strike your charges from the record." 

The coward did as he was ordered, and Ben hurried 
back to Piedmont with a friend toward whom he began 
to feel closer than a brother. 

When Elsie heard the full story of the outrage, she bore 
herself toward Ben with unusual tenderness, and yet he 
knew that the event had driven their lives farther apart. 
He felt instinctively the cold silent eye of her father, and 
his pride stiffened under it. The girl had never consid- 
ered the possibility of a marriage without her father's 
blessing. Ben Cameron was too proud to ask it. He 
began to fear that the differences between her father and 
his people reached to the deepest sources of life. 

Phil found himself a hero at the Cameron House. Mar- 
garet said little, but her bearing spoke in deeper language 
than words. He felt it would be mean to take advantage 
of her gratitude. 

But he was quick to respond to the motherly tenderness 
of Mrs. Cameron. In the groups of neighbours who 
gathered in the evenings to discuss with the doctor the 
hopes, fears, and sorrows of the people, Phil was a 
charmed listener to the most brilliant conversations he 



226 The Clansman 

had ever heard. It seemed the normal expression of their 
lives. He had never before seen people come together 
to talk to one another after this fashion. More and 
more the simplicity, dignity, patience, courtesy, and 
sympathy of these people in their bearing toward one 
another impressed him. More and more he grew to like 
them. 

Marion went out of her way to express her open admira- 
tion for Phil and tease him about Margaret. The Rev. 
Hugh McAlpin was monopolizing her on the Wednesday 
following his return from Columbia and Phil sought 
Marion for sympathy. 

"What will you give me if I tease you about Margaret 
right before her?" she asked. 

He blushed furiously. 

"Don't you dare such a thing on peril of your life! " 

"You know you like to be teased about her," she cried, 
her blue eyes dancing with fun. 

" With such a pretty little friend to do the teasing all by 
ourselves, perhaps " 

"You'll never get her unless you have more spunk." 

"Then I'll find consolation with you." 

"No, I mean to marry young." 

"And your ideal of life?" 

"To fill the world with flowers, laughter, and music — 
especially my own home — and never do a thing I can 
make my husband do for me ! How do you like it? " 

"I think it very sweet," Phil answered soberly. 

At noon on the following Friday, the Piedmont Eagle 
appeared with an editorial signed by Dr. Cameron, de- 



At the Point of the Bayonet 227 

nouncing in the fine language of the old school the 
arrest of Ben as "despotism and the usurpation of 
authority." 

At three o'clock, Captain Gilbert, in command of the 
troops stationed in the village, marched a squad of soldiers 
to the newspaper office. One of them carried a sledge- 
hammer. In ten minutes he demolished the office, 
heaped the type and their splintered cases on top of the 
battered press in the middle of the street, and set fire to 
the pile. 

On the courthouse door he nailed this proclamation: 

To the People of Ulster County: 

The censures of the press, directed against the servants of 
the people, may be endured; but the military force in com- 
mand of this district are not the servants of the people of 
South Carolina. We are your masters. The impertinence 
of newspaper comment on the military will not be brooked 

UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATEVER. 

G. C. Gilbert, 

-. Captain in Command. 

Not content with this display of power, he determined 
to make an example of Dr. Cameron, as the leader of 
public opinion in the county. 

He ordered a squad of his negro troops to arrest him 
immediately and take him to Columbia for obstructing 
the execution of the Reconstruction Acts. He placed 
the squad under command of Gus, whom he promoted to 
be a corporal, with instructions to wait until the doctor 
was inside his house, boldly enter it and arrest him. 

When Gus marched his black janizaries into the house, 
no one was in the office. Margaret had gone for a ride 



228 The Clansman 

with Phil, and Ben had strolled with Elsie to Lover's 
Leap, unconscious of the excitement in town. 

Dr. Cameron himself had heard nothing of it, having 
just reached home from a visit to a country patient. 

Gus stationed his men at each door, and with another 
trooper walked straight into Mrs. Cameron's bedroom, 
where the doctor was resting on a lounge. 

Had an imp of perdition suddenly sprung through the 
floor, the master of the house of Cameron would not have 
been more enraged or surprised. 

A sudden leap, as the spring of a panther, and he stood 
before his former slave, his slender frame erect, his face 
a livid spot in its snow-white hair, his brilliant eyes 
flashing with fury. 

Gus suddenly lost control of his knees. 

His old master transfixed him with his eyes, and in a 
voice, whose tones gripped him by the throat, said: 

"How dare you?" 

The gun fell from the negro's hand, and he dropped to 
the floor on his face. 

His companion uttered a yell and sprang through the 
door, rallying the men as he went: 

"Fallback! FaU back! He's killed Gus! Shot him 
dead wid his eye. He's conjured him! Git de whole 
army quick." 

They fled to the Commandant. 

Gilbert ordered the negroes to their tents and led his 
whole company of white regulars to the hotel, arrested 
Dr. Cameron, and rescued his fainting trooper, who had 
been revived and placed under a tree on the lawn. 



I At the Point of the Bayonet ' L 229 

[T The little Captain had a wicked look on his face. He 
refused to allow the doctor a moment's delay to leave 
instructions for his wife, who had gone to visit a neigh- 
bour. He was placed in the guard-house, and a detail of 
twenty soldiers stationed around it. 

The arrest was made so quickly, not a dozen people in 
town had heard of it* As fast as it was known, people 
poured into the house, one by one, to express their sym- 
pathy. But a greater surprise awaited them. 

Within thirty minutes after he had been placed in 
prison, a Lieutenant entered, accompanied by a soldier 
and a negro blacksmith who carried in his hand two big 
chains with shackles on each end. 

The doctor gazed at the intruders a moment with in- 
credulity, and then, as the enormity of the outrage 
dawned on him, he flushed and drew himself erect, his 
face livid and rigid. 

He clutched his throat with his slender fingers, slowly 
recovered himself, glanced at the shackles in the black 
hands and then at the young Lieutenant's face, and said 
slowly, with heaving breast: 

"My God! Have you been sent to place these irons 
on me? " 

"Such are my orders, sir," replied the officer, motion- 
ing to the negro smith to approach. He stepped forward, 
unlocked the padlock, and prepared the fetters to be 
placed on his arms and legs. These fetters were of 
enormous weight, made of iron rods three quarters 
of an inch thick and connected together by chains of 
like weight. 



230 The Clansman 

"This is monstrous!" groaned the doctor, with choking 
agony, glancing helplessly about the bare cell for some 
weapon with which to defend himself. 

Suddenly looking the Lieutenant in the face, he said: 

"I demand, sir, to see your commanding officer. He 
cannot pretend that these shackles are needed to hold a 
weak unarmed man in prison, guarded by two hundred 
soldiers? " 

"It is useless. I have his orders direct." 

"But I must see him. No such outrage has ever been 
recorded in the history of the American people. I ap- 
peal to the Magna Charta rights of every man who speaks 
the English tongue — no man shall be arrested or im- 
prisoned or deprived of his own household, or of his lib- 
erties, unless by the legal judgment of his peers or by the 
law of the land!" 

"The bayonet is your only law. My orders admit of 
no delay. For your own sake, I advise you to submit. 
As a soldier, Dr. Cameron, you know I must execute 
orders." 

"These are not the orders of a soldier!" shouted the 
prisoner, enraged beyond all control. "They are orders 
for a jailer, a hangman, a scullion — no soldier who wears 
the sword of a civilized nation can take such orders. The 
war is over; the South is conquered; I have no country 
save America. For the honour of the flag, for which I 
once poured out my blood on the heights of Buena Vista, 
I protest against this shame!" 

The Lieutenant fell back a moment before the burst of 
his anger. 



At the Point of the Bayonet 231 

"Kill me! Kill me!" he went on passionately, throw- 
ing his arms wide open and exposing his breast. "Kill — 
I am in your power. I have no desire to live under such 
conditions. Kill, but you must not inflict on me and on 
my people this insult worse than death!" 

"Do your duty, blacksmith," said the officer, turning 
his back and walking toward the door. 

The negro advanced with the chains cautiously, and 
attempted to snap one of the shackles on the doctor's 
right arm. 

With sudden maniac frenzy, Dr. Cameron seized the 
negro by the throat, hurled him to the floor, and backed 
against the wall. 

The Lieutenant approached and remonstrated: 

"Why compel me to add the indignity of personal vio- 
lence? You must submit." 

"I am your prisoner," fiercely retorted the doctor. 
"I have been a soldier in the armies of America, and I 
know how to die. Kill me, and my last breath will be a 
blessing. But while I have life to resist, for myself and 
for my people, this thing shall not be done!" 

The Lieutenant called a sergeant and a file of soldiers, 
and the sergeant stepped forward to seize the prisoner. 

Dr. Cameron sprang on him with the ferocity of a 
tiger, seized his musket, and attempted to wrench it from 
his grasp. 

The men closed in on him. A short passionate fight 
and the slender, proud, gray-haired man lay panting on 
the floor. 

Four powerful assailants held his hands and feet, and 



232 The Clansman 

the negro smith, with a grin, secured the rivet on the 
right ankle and turned the key in the padlock on the left. 

As he drove the rivet into the shackle on his left arm, 
a spurt of bruised blood from the old Mexican War wound 
stained the iron. 

Dr. Cameron lay for a moment in a stupor. At length 
he slowly rose. The clank of the heavy chains seemed 
to choke him with horror. He sank on the floor, cover- 
ing his face with his hands and groaned : 

"The shame ! The shame ! God, that I might have 
died ! My poor, poor wife ! ' ' 

Captain Gilbert entered and said with a sneer: 

"I will take you now to see your wife and friends if 
you would like to call before setting out for Columbia." 

The doctor paid no attention to him. 

"Will you follow me while I lead you through this town, 
to show them their chief has fallen, or will you force me 
to drag you?" 

Receiving no answer, he roughly drew the doctor to 
his feet, held him by the arm, and led him thus in half- 
unconscious stupor through the principal street, followed 
by a drove of negroes. He ordered a squad of troops to 
meet him at the depot. Not a white man appeared on 
the streets. When one saw the sight and heard the clank 
of those chains, there was a sudden tightening of the lip, a 
clinched fist, and an averted face. 

When they approached the hotel, Mrs. Cameron ran to 
meet him, her face white as death. 

In silence she kissed his lips, kissed each shackle on 
his wrists, took her handkerchief and wiped the bruised 



At the Point of the Bayonet 233 

blood from the old wound on his arm the iron had opened 
afresh, and then with a look, beneath which the Captain 
shrank, she said in low tones : 

"Do your work quickly. You have but a few moments 
to get out of this town with your prisoner. I have sent 
a friend to hold my son. If he comes before you go, he 
will kill you on sight as he would a mad dog." 

With a sneer, the Captain passed the hotel and led the 
doctor, still in half-unconscious stupor, toward the depot 
down past his old slave quarters. He had given his 
negroes who remained faithful each a cabin and a lot. 

They looked on in awed silence as the Captain pro- 
claimed: 

"Fellow citizens, you are the equal of any white man 
who walks the ground. The white man's day is done. 
Your turn has come." 

As he passed Jake's cabin, the doctor's faithful man 
stepped suddenly in front of him, looking at the Captain 
out of the corners of his eyes, and asked: 

"Is I yo' equal?" 

"Yes." 

"Des lak any white man? " 

"Exactly." 

The negro's fist suddenly shot into Gilbert's nose with 
the crack of a sledge-hammer, laying him stunned on the 
pavement. 

"Den take dat f'um yo' equal, d — n you!" he cried, 
bending over his prostrate figure. "I'll show you how to 
treat my ole marster, you low-down slue-footed devil!" 

The stirring little drama roused the doctor and he 



234 The Clansman 

turned to his servant with his old-time courtesy, and 
said: 

"Thank you, Jake." 

"Come in here, Marse Richard; I knock dem things 
off'n you in er minute, 'en I get you outen dis town in er 
jiffy." 

"No, Jake, that is not my way; bring this gentleman 
some water, and then my horse and buggy. You can 
take me to the depot. This officer can follow with his 
men." And he did. 



CHAPTER V 

Forty Acres and a Mule 

WHEN Phil returned with Margaret, he drove at 
Mrs. Cameron's request to rind Ben, brought 
him with all speed to the hotel, took him to his 
room, and locked the door before he told him the news. 
After an hour's blind rage, he agreed to obey his father's 
positive orders to keep away from the Captain until his 
return, and to attempt no violence against the authorities. 

Phil undertook to manage the case in Columbia, and 
spent three days collecting his evidence before leaving. 

Swifter feet had anticipated him. Two days after the 
arrival of Dr. Cameron at the fort in Columbia, a dust- 
stained, tired negro was ushered into the presence of 
General Howie. 

He looked about timidly and laughed loudly. 

"Well, my man, what's the trouble? You seem to 
have walked all the way, and laugh as if you were glad 
of it." 

"I 'spec' I is, sah," said Jake, sidling up confidentially. 

"Well?" said Howie good-humouredly. 

Jake's voice dropped to a whisper. 

"I hears you got my ole marster, Dr. Cameron, in dis 
place." 

"Yes. What do you know against him? " 

235 



236 The Clansman 

"Nuttin', sah. I des hurry 'long down ter take his 
place, so's you can sen' him back home. He's erbleeged 
ter go. Dey's er pow'ful lot er sick folks up dar in de 
country cain't git 'long widout him, an er pow'ful lot er 
well ones gwiner be raisin' de debbel 'bout dis. You can 
hoi' me, sah. Des tell my ole marster when ter be yere, 
en he sho' come." 

Jake paused and bowed low. 

"Yessah, hit's des lak I tell you. Fuddermo', I 'spec' 
I'se de man what done de damages. I 'spec' I bus' de 
Capt'n's nose so 'tain gwine be no mo' good to 'im." 

Howie questioned Jake as to the whole affair, asked him 
a hundred questions about the condition of the county, 
the position of Dr. Cameron, and the possible effect of 
this event on the temper of the people. 

The affair had already given him a bad hour. The 
news of this shackling of one of the most prominent men 
in the State had spread like wildfire, and had caused the 
first deep growl of anger from the people. He saw that it 
wasa senseless piece of stupidity. The election was rapidly 
approaching. He was master of the State, and the less 
friction the better. His mind was made up instantly. 
He released Dr. Cameron with an apology, and returned 
with him and Jake for a personal inspection of the affairs 
of Ulster county. 

In a thirty-minutes' interview with Captain Gilbert, 
Howie gave him more pain than his broken nose. 

"And why did you nail up the doors of that Presby- 
terian church?" he asked suavely. 

"Because McAlpin, the young cub who preaches there, 



Forty Acres and a Mule 237 

dared come to this camp and insult me about the arrest of 
old Cameron." 

"I suppose you issued an order silencing him from the 
ministry?" 

"I did, and told him I'd shackle him if he opened his 
mouth again." 

" Good. The throne of Russia needn't worry about a 
worthy successor. Any further ecclesiastical orders? " 

"None, except the oaths I've prescribed for them be- 
fore they shall preach again." 

"Fine! These Scotch Covenanters will feel at home 
with you." 

"Well, I've made them bite the dust — and they know 
who's runnin' this town, and don't you forget it." 

"No doubt. Yet we may have too much of even a 
good thing. The League is here to run this country. 
The business of the military's to keep still and back them 
when they need it." 

"We've the strongest council here to be found in any 
county in this section," said Gilbert with pride. 

"Just so. The League meets once a week. We have 
promised them the land of their masters and equal social 
and political rights. Their members go armed to these 
meetings and drill on Saturdays in the public square. 
The white man is afraid to interfere lest his house or 
barn take fire. A negro prisoner in the dock needs only 
to make the sign to be acquitted. Not a negro will dare 
to vote against us. Their women are formed into 
societies, sworn to leave their husbands and refuse to 
marry any man who dares our anger. The negro churches 



238 The Clansman 

have pledged themselves to expel him from their member- 
ship. What more do you want? " 

"There's another side to it," protested the Captain. 
"Since the League has taken in the negroes, every Union 
white man has dropped it like a hot iron, except the lone 
scallawag or carpet-bagger who expects an office. In the 
church, the social circle, in business or pleasure, these 
men are lepers. How can a human being stand it? I've 
tried to grind this hellish spirit in the dirt under my heel, 
and unless you can do it they'll beat you in the long run! 
You've got to have some Southern white men or you're 
lost." 

"I'll risk it with a hundred thousand negro majority," 
said Howie with a sneer. "The fun will just begin then. 
In the meantime, I'll have you ease up on this county's 
government. I've brought that man back who knocked 
you down. Let him alone. I've pardoned him. The 
less said about this affair, the better." 

As the day of the election under the new regime of Re- 
construction drew near, the negroes were excited by 
rumours of the coming great events. Every man was to 
receive forty acres of land for his vote, and the* enthusias- 
tic speakers and teachers had made the dream a resistless 
one by declaring that the Government would throw in a 
mule with the forty acres. Some who had hesitated 
about the forty acres of land, remembering that it must be 
worked, couldn't resist the idea of owning a mule. 

The Freedman's Bureau reaped a harvest in $2 mar- 
riage fees from negroes who were urged thus to make 



Forty Acres and a Mule 239 

their children heirs of landed estates stocked with 
mules. 

Every stranger who appeared in the village was re- 
garded with awe as a possible surveyor sent from Washing- 
ton to run the lines of these forty-acre plots. 

And in due time the surveyors appeared. Uncle Aleck, 
who now devoted his entire time to organizing the League, 
and drinking whiskey which the dues he collected made 
easy, was walking back to Piedmont from a League meet- 
ing in the country, dreaming of this promised land. 

He lifted his eyes from the dusty way and saw before 
him two surveyors with their arms full of line stakes 
painted red, white, and blue. They were well-dressed 
Yankees — he could not be mistaken. Not a doubt dis- 
turbed his mind. The kingdom of heaven was at hand! 

He bowed low and cried: 

"Praise de Lawd! De messengers is come! I'se 
waited long, but I sees 'em now wid my own eyes ! " 

"You can bet your life on that, old pard," said the 
spokesman of the pair. "We go two and two, just as the 
apostles did in the olden times. We have only a few left. 
The boys are hurrying to get their homes. All you've got 
to do is to drive one of these red, white, and blue stakes 
down at each corner of the forty acres of land you want, 
and every rebel in the infernal regions can't pull it up." 

"Hear dat now!" 

"Just like I tell you. When this stake goes into the 
ground, it's like planting a thousand cannon at each 
corner." 

"En will the Lawd's messengers come wid me right 



240 The Clansman 

now to de bend er de creek whar I done pick out my 
forty acres?" 

"We will, if you have the needful for the ceremony. 
The fee for the surveyor is small — only two dollars for 
each stake. We have no time to linger with foolish 
virgins who have no oil in their lamps. The bride- 
groom has come. They who have no oil must remain 
in outer darkness." The speaker had evidently been 
a preacher in the North, and his sacred accent sealed his 
authority with the old negro, who had been an exhorter 
himself. 

Aleck felt in his pocket the jingle of twenty gold dollars, 
the initiation fees of the week's harvest of the League. He 
drew them, counted out eight, and took his four stakes. 
The surveyors kindly showed him how to drive them 
down firmly to the first stripe of blue. When they had 
stepped off a square of about forty acres of the Lenoir 
farm, including the richest piece of bottom land on the 
creek, which Aleck's children under his wife's direction 
were working for Mrs. Lenoir, and the four stakes were 
planted, old Aleck shouted: 

"Glory ter God!" 

"Now," said the foremost surveyor, "you want a deed 
— a deed in fee simple with the big seal of the Govern- 
ment on it, and you're fixed for life. The deed you can 
take to the courthouse and make the clerk record it." 

The man drew from his pocket an official-looking 
paper, with a red circular seal pasted on its face. 

Uncle Aleck's eyes danced. 

"Isdatdedeed?" 



Forty Acres and a Mule 241 

"It will be if I write your name on it and describe the 
land" 

"En what's de fee fer dat?" 

"Only twelve dollars; you can take it now or wait until 
we come again. There's no particular hurry about this. 
The wise man, though, leaves nothing for to-morrow that 
he can carry with him to-day." 

"I takes de deed right now, gemmen," said Aleck, 
eagerly counting out the remaining twelve dollars. "Fix 
'im up for me." 

The surveyor squatted in the field and carefully wrote 
the document. 

They went on their way rejoicing, and old Aleck hur- 
ried into Piedmont with the consciousness of lordship of 
the soil. He held himself so proudly that it seemed to 
straighten some of the crook out of his bow legs. 

He marched up to the hotel where Margaret sat read- 
ing and Marion was on the steps playing with a setter. 

"Why, Uncle Aleck!" Marion exclaimed, "I haven't 
seen you in a long time." 

Aleck drew himself to his full height — at least, as full 
as his bow legs would permit, and said gruffly: 

"Miss Ma'ian, I axes you to stop callin' me 'uncle'; my 
name is Mr. Alexander Lenoir " 

"Until Aunt Cindy gets after you," laughed the girl. 
"Then it's much shorter than that, Uncle Aleck." 

He shuffled his feet and looked out at the square un- 
concernedly. 

" Yaas'm, dat's what fetch me here now. I comes ter 
tell yer Ma ter tell dat 'oman Cindy ter take her chillun 



242 The Clansman 

off my farm. I gwine 'low no mo' rent-payin' ter nobody 
off'n my Ian'!" 

"Your land, Uncle Aleck? When did you get it?'' 
asked Marion, placing her cheek against the setter. 

"De Gubment gim it ter me to-day," he replied, fum- 
bling in his pocket, and pulling out the document. "You 
kin read it all dar yo'sef." 

He handed Marion the paper, and Margaret hurried 
down and read it over her shoulder. 

Both girls broke into screams of laughter. 

Aleck looked up sharply. 

"Do you know what's written on this paper, Uncle 
Aleck?" Margaret asked. 

"Cose I do. Dat's de deed ter my farm er forty acres 
in de land er de creek, whar I done stuck off wid de red, 
white, an' blue sticks de Gubment gimme." 

"I'll read it to you," said Margaret. 

"Wait a minute," interrupted Marion. "I want 
Aunt Cindy to hear it — she's here to see Mamma in the 
kitchen now." 

She ran for Uncle Aleck's spouse. Aunt Cindy walked 
around the house and stood by the steps, eying her erst- 
while lord with contempt. 

" Got yer deed, is yer, ter stop me payin' my missy her 
rent fum de Ian' my chillun wucks? Yu'se er smart boy, 
you is — let's hear de deed!" 

Aleck edged away a little, and said with a bow: 

"Dar's de paper wid de big mark er de Gubment." 

Aunt Cindy sniffed the air contemptuously. 

"What is it, honey?" she asked of Margaret. 



Forty Acres and a Mule 243 

Margaret read in mock solemnity the mystic writing 
on the deed: 

To Whom It May Concern: 

As Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness 
for the enlightenment of the people, even so have I lifted 
twenty shining plunks out of this benighted nigger! Sekh! 

As Uncle Aleck walked away with Aunt Cindy shout- 
ing in derision, "Dar, now! Dar, now!" the bow in his 
legs seemed to have sprung a sharper curve. 



CHAPTER VI 
A Whisper in the Crowd 

THE excitement which preceded the first Recon- 
struction election in the South paralyzed the 
industries of the country. When demagogues 
poured down from the North and began their raving before 
crowds of ignorant negroes, the plow stopped in the furrow, 
the hoe was dropped, and the millennium was at hand. 

Negro tenants, working under contracts issued by the 
Freedman's Bureau, stopped work, and rode their land- 
lords' mules and horses around the county, following 
these orators. 

The loss to the cotton crop alone from the abandonment 
of the growing plant was estimated at over $60,000,000. 

The one thing that saved the situation from despair 
was the large grain and forage crops of the previous 
season which thrifty farmers had stored in their barns. 
So important was the barn and its precious contents that 
Dr. Cameron hired Jake to sleep in his. 

This immense barn, which was situated at the foot of 
the hill some two hundred yards behind the house, had 
become a favourite haunt of Marion and Hugh. She 
had made a pet of the beautiful thoroughbred mare 
which had belonged to Ben during the war. Marion 
went every day to give her an apple or lump of sugar, or 
244 



A Whisper in the Crowd 245 

carry her a bunch of clover. The mare would follow her 
about like a cat. 

Another attraction at the barn for them was Becky 
Sharpe, Ben's setter. She came to Marion one morning, 
wagging her tail, seized her dress and led her into an 
empty stall, where beneath the trough lay sleeping 
snugly ten little white-and-black spotted puppies 

The girl had never seen such a sight before and went 
into ecstasies. Becky wagged her tail with pride at her 
compliments. Every morning she would pull her gently 
into the stall just to hear her talk and laugh and pet her 
babies. 

Whatever election day meant to the men, to Marion it 
was one of unalloyed happiness: she was to ride horse- 
back alone and dance at her first ball. Ben had taught 
her to ride, and told her she could take Queen to Lover's 
Leap and back alone. Trembling with joy, her beautiful 
face wreathed in smiles, she led the mare to the pond in 
the edge of the lot and watched her drink its pure spring 
water. 

When he helped her to mount in front of the hotel 
under her mother's gaze, and saw her ride out of the 
gate, with the exquisite lines of her little figure melting 
into the graceful lines of the mare's gHstening form, he 
exclaimed: 

"I declare, I don't know which is the prettier, Marion 
or Queen!" 

"I know," was the mother's soft answer. 

"They are both thoroughbreds," said Ben, watching 
them admiringly. 



246 The Clansman 

"Wait till you see her to-night in her first ball dress," 
whispered Mrs. Lenoir. 

At noon Ben and Phil strolled to the polling-place to 
watch the progress of the first election under negro rule. 
The Square was jammed with shouting, jostling, perspiring 
negroes, men, women, and children. The day was warm, 
and the African odour was supreme even in the open air. 

A, crowd of two hundred were packed around a peddler's 
box. There were two of them — one crying the wares, 
and the other wrapping and delivering the goods. They 
were selling a new patent poison for rats. 

"I've only a few more bottles left now, gentlemen," he 
shouted, "and the polls will close at sundown. A great 
day for our brother in black. Two years of army ra- 
tions from the Freedman's Bureau, with old army 
clothes thrown in, and now the ballot — the priceless 
glory of American citizenship. But better still the 
very land is to be taken from these proud aristocrats 
and: given to the poor down-trodden black man. Forty 
acres and a mule — think of it! Provided, mind you — 
that you have a bottle of my wonder-worker to kill the 
rats and save your corn for the mule. No man can have 
the mule unless he has corn; and no man can have corn if 
he has. rats — and only a few bottles left " 

"Gimme one," yelled a negro. 

"Forty^ acres and a mule, your old masters to work 
your land and pay his rent in corn, while you sit back in 
the shade and see him sweat." 

"Gimme er bottle and two er dem pictures!" bawled 
another candidate for a mule. 



A Whisper in the Crowd 247 

The peddler handed him the bottle and the pictures 
and threw a handful of his labels among the crowd. 
These labels happened to be just the size of the ballots, 
having on them the picture of a dead rat lying on his back, 
and above, the emblem of death, the crossbones and skull. 

"Forty acres and a mule for every black man — why 
was I ever born white? I never had no luck, nohow!" 

Phil and Ben passed on nearer the polling-place, around 
which stood a cordon of soldiers with a line of negro voters 
two hundred yards in length extending back into the crowd. 

The negro Leagues came in armed battalions and voted 
in droves, carrying their muskets in their hands. Less 
than a dozen white men were to be seen about the place. 

The negroes, under the drill of the League and the 
Freedman's Bureau, protected by the bayonet, were 
voting to enfranchise themselves, disfranchise their 
former masters, ratify a new constitution, and elect a 
legislature to do their will. Old Aleck was a candidate 
for the House, chief poll-holder, and seemed to be in 
charge of the movements of the voters outside the booth 
as well as inside. He appeared to be omnipresent, and 
his self-importance was a sight Phil had never dreamed. 
He could not keep his eyes off him. 

"By George, Cameron, he's a wonder! " he laughed. 

Aleck had suppressed as far as possible the story of the 
painted stakes and the deed, after sending out warnings 
to the brethren to beware of two enticing strangers. 
The surveyors had reaped a rich harvest and passed on. 
Aleck made up his mind to go to Columbia, make the laws 
himself, and never again trust a white man from the North 



248 The Clansman 

or South. The agent of the Freedman's Bureau at Pied- 
mont tried to choke him off the ticket. The League 
backed him to a man. He could neither read nor write, 
but before he took to whiskey he had made a specialty of 
revival exhortation, and his mouth was the most effective 
thing about him. In this campaign he was an orator of 
no mean powers. He knew what he wanted, and he 
knew what his people wanted, and he put the thing in 
words so plain that a wayfaring man, though a fool, 
couldn't make any mistake about it. 

As he bustled past, forming a battalion of his brethren 
in line to march to the polls, Phil followed his every move- 
ment with amused interest. 

Besides being so bow-legged that his walk was a moving 
joke he was so striking a negro in his personal appear- 
ance, he seemed to the young Northerner almost a dis- 
tinct type of man. 

His head was small and seemed mashed on the sides 
until it bulged into a double lobe behind. Even his ears, 
which he had pierced and hung with red earbobs, seemed 
to have been crushed flat to the side of his head. His 
kinked hair was wrapped in little hard rolls close to the 
skull and bound tightly with dirty thread. His receding 
forehead was high and indicated a cunning intelligence. 
His nose was broad and crushed flat against his face. 
Hi3 jaws were strong and angular, mouth wide, and lips 
thick, curling back from rows of solid teeth set obliquely 
in their blue gums. The one perfect thing about him 
was the size and setting of his mouth — he was a born 
African orator, undoubtedly descended from a long line 



A Whisper in the Crowd 249 

of savage spell-binders, whose eloquence in the palaver 
houses of the jungle had made them native leaders. His 
thin spindle-shanks supported an oblong, protruding 
stomach, resembling an elderly monkey's, which seemed 
so heavy it swayed his back to carry it. 

The animal vivacity of his small eyes and the flexibility 
of his eyebrows, which he worked up and down rapidly with 
every change of countenance, expressed his eager desires. 

He had laid aside his new shoes, which hurt him, and 
went barefooted to facilitate his movements on the great 
occasion. His heels projected and his foot was so flat 
that what should have been the hollow of it made a hole 
in the dirt where he left his track. 

He was already mellow with liquor, and was dressed in 
an old army uniform and cap, with two horse pistols 
buckled around his waist. On a strap hanging from his 
shoulder were strung a half-dozen tin canteens filled with 
whiskey. 

A disturbance in the line of voters caused the young 
men to move forward to see what it meant. 

Two negro troopers had pulled Jake out of the line, and 
were dragging him toward old Aleck. 

The election judge straightened himself up with great 
dignity: 

"What wuz de rapscallion doin'?" 

"In de line, tryin' ter vote." 

"Fetch 'im befo' de judgment bar," said Aleck, taking 
a drink from one of his canteens. 

The troopers brought Jake before the judge. 

"Tryin' ter vote, is yer? " 



250 The Clansman 

"'Lowed I would." 

"You hear 'bout de great sassieties de Gubment's 
fomentin' in dis country? " 

" Yas, I hear erbout 'em." 

"Is yer er member er de Union League?" 

"Na-sah. I'd rudder steal by myself. I doan' lak too 
many in de party ! " 

"En yer ain't er No'f Ca'liny gemmen, is yer — yer 
ain't er member er de ' Red Strings? ' " 

"Na-sah, I come when I'se called — dey doan' hatter 
put er string on me — ner er block, ner er collar, ner er 
chain, ner er muzzle " 

"Will yer 'splain ter dis cote " railed Aleck. 

"What cote? Dat ole army cote?" Jake laughed in 
loud peals that rang over the square. 

Aleck recovered his dignity and demanded angrily: 

'"Does yer belong ter de Heroes ob Americky?" 

"Na-sah. I ain't burnt nobody's house ner barn yet, 
ner hamstrung no stock, ner waylaid nobody atter night 
— honey, I ain't fit ter jine. Heroes ob Americky! Is 
you er hero?" 

"Ef yer doan' b'long ter no s'iety," said Aleck with 
judicial deliberation, "what is you?" 

"Des er ole-fashun all-wool-en-er-yard-wide nigger dat 
Stan's by his ole marster 'cause he's his bes' frien', stays 
at home, en tends ter his own business." 

"En yer pay no 'tenshun ter de orders I sent yer ter jine 
de League?" 

"Na-sah. I ain't er takin' orders f'um er skeer- 
crow." 



A Whisper in the Crowd 251 

Aleck ignored his insolence, secure in his power. 

"You doan b'long ter no s'iety, what yer git in dat 
line ter vote for? " 

"Ain't I er nigger? " 

"But yer ain't de right kin' er nigger. 'Res' dat man 
fer 'sturbin' de peace." 

They put Jake in jail-, persuaded his wife to leave him, 
and expelled him from the Baptist church, all within the 
week. 

As the troopers led Jake to prison, a young negro ap- 
parently about fifteen years old approached Aleck, holding 
in his hand one of the peddler's rat labels, which had 
gotten well distributed among the crowd. A group of 
negro boys followed him with these rat labels in their 
hands, studying them intently. 

"Look at dis ticket, Uncle Aleck," said the leader. 

"Mr. Alexander Lenoir, sah — is I yo' uncle, nigger?" 

The youth walled his eyes angrily. 

"Den doan' you call me er nigger!" 

"Who' yer talkin to, sah? You kin fling yer sass at 
white folks, but, honey, yuse er projeckin' wid death 
now!" 

"I ain't er nigger — I'se er gemman, I is," was the sullen 
answer. 

"How ole is you? " asked Aleck in milder tones. 

"Me mudder say sixteen — but de Buro man say I'se 
twenty-one yistiddy, de day 'fo' 'lection." 

"Is you voted to-day?" 

" Yessah; vote in all de boxes 'cept'n dis one. Look at 
dat ticket. Is dat de straight ticket? " 



252 The Clansman 

Aleck, who couldn't read the twelve-inch letters of his 
favourite bar-room sign, took the rat label and examined 
it critically. 

"What ail it?" he asked at length. 

The boy pointed at the picture of the rat. 

"What dat rat doin', lyin' dar on his back, wid his heels 
cocked up in de air — 'pear ter me lak a rat otter be stand- 
in' on his feet!" 

Aleck reexamined it carefully, and then smiled benignly 
on the youth. 

"De ignance er dese folks. What ud yer do widout er 
man lak me enjued wid de sperit en de power ter splain 
tings?" 

"You sho' got de sperits," said the boy impudently, 
touching a canteen. 

Aleck ignored the remark and looked at the rat label 
smilingly. 

"Ain't we er votin', ter-day, on de Constertooshun 
what's ter take de ballot away f'um de white folks en gib 
all de power ter de cullud gemmen — I axes yer dat?" 

The boy stuck his thumbs under his arms and walled 
his eyes. 

"Yessah!" 

"Den dat means de ratification ob de Constertooshun!" 

Phil laughed, followed, and watched them fold their 
tickets, get in line, and vote the rat labels. 

Ben turned toward a white man with gray beard, who 
stood watching the crowd. 

He was a pious member of the Presbyterian church but 
his face didn't have a pious expression to-day. He had 



A Whisper in the Crowd 253 

been refused the right to vote because he had aided the 
Confederacy by nursing one of his wounded boys. 

He touched his hat politely to Ben. 

"What do you think of it, Colonel Cameron?" he 
asked with a touch of scorn. 

"What's your opinion, Mr. McAllister?" 

"Well, Colonel, I've been a member of the church for 
over forty years. I'm not a cussin' man— but there's a 
sight I never expected to live to see. I've been a faith- 
ful citizen of this State for fifty years. I can't vote, and a 
nigger is to be elected to-day to represent me in the 
Legislature. Neither you, Colonel, nor your father are 
good enough to vote. Every nigger in this county sixteen 
years old and up voted to-day — I ain't a cussing man, 
and I don't say it as a cuss word, but all I've got to say 
is, IF there BE such a thing as a d — d shame — that's it!" 

"Mr. McAllister, the recording angel wouldn't have 
made a mark had you said it without the 'IF.' " 

"God knows what this country's coming to — I don't," 
said the old man bitterly. "I'm afraid to let my wife 
and daughter go out of the house, or stay in it, without 
somebody with them." 

Ben leaned closer and whispered, as Phil approached: 

"Come to my office to-night at ten o'clock; I want to 
see you on some important business." 

The old man seized his hand eagerly. 

"Shall I bring the boys?" 

Ben smiled. 

"No. I've seen them some time ago." 



CHAPTER VII 

By the Light of a Torch 

ON the night of the election Mrs. Lenoir gave a 
ball at the hotel in honour of Marion's entrance 
into society. She was only in her sixteenth year, 
yet older than her mother when mistress of her own house- 
hold. The only ambition the mother cherished was that 
she might win the love of an honest man and build for 
herself a beautiful home on the site of the cottage covered 
with trailing roses. In this home dream for Marion she 
found a great sustaining joy to which nothing in the life 
of man answers. 

The ball had its political significance which the mili- 
tary martinet who commanded the post understood. It 
was the way the people of Piedmont expressed to him 
and the world their contempt for the farce of an election 
he had conducted, and their indifference as to the result 
he would celebrate with many guns before midnight. 

The young people of the town were out in force. 
Marion was a universal favourite. The grace, charm, and 
tender beauty of the Southern girl of sixteen were com- 
bined in her with a gentle and unselfish disposition. Amid 
poverty that was pitiful, unconscious of its limitations, 
her thoughts were always of others, and she was the one 
human being everybody had agreed to love. In the vil- 

254 



By the Light of a Torch 255 

lage in which she lived wealth counted for naught. She 
belonged to the aristocracy of poetry, beauty, and in- 
trinsic worth, and her people knew no other. 

As she stood in the long dining-room, dressed in her 
first ball costume of white organdy and lace, the little 
plump shoulders peeping through its meshes, she was the 
picture of happiness. A half-dozen boys hung on every 
word as the utterance of an oracle. She waved gently 
an old ivory fan with white down on its edges in a way 
the charm of which is the secret birthright of every 
Southern girl. 

Now and then she glanced at the door for some one 
who had not yet appeared. 

Phil paid his tribute to her with genuine feeling, and 
Marion repaid him by whispering: 

''Margaret's dressed to kill — all in soft azure blue — 
her rosy cheeks, black hair, and eyes never shone as 
they do to-night. She doesn't dance on account of her 
Sunday-school — it's all for you." 

Phil blushed and smiled. 

"The preacher won't be here?" 

"Our rector will." 

"He's a nice old gentleman. I'm fond of him. Miss 
Marion, your mother is a genius. I hope she can plan 
these little affairs oftener." 

It was half-past ten o'clock when Ben Cameron en- 
tered the room with Elsie a little ruffled at his delay over 
imaginary business at his office. Ben answered her 
criticisms with a strange elation. She had felt a secret 
between them and resented it. 



256 The Clansman 

At Mrs. Lenoir's special request, he had put on his full 
uniform of a Confederate Colonel in honour of Marion 
and the poem her father had written of one of his gallant 
charges. He had not worn it since he fell that day in 
Phil's arms. 

No one in the room had ever seen him in this Colonel's 
uniform. Its yellow sash with the gold fringe and tassels 
was faded and there were two bullet holes in the coat. A 
murmur of applause from the boys, sighs and exclama- 
tions from the girls swept the room as he took Marion's 
hand, bowed and kissed it. Her blue eyes danced and 
smiled on him with frank admiration. 

"Ben, you're the handsomest thing I've ever seen!" 
she said softly. 

"Thanks. I thought you had a mirror. I'll send you 
one," he answered, slipping his arm around her and glid- 
ing away to the strains of a waltz. The girl's hand trem- 
bled as she placed it on his shoulder, her cheeks were 
flushed, and her eyes had a wistful dreamy look in their 
depths. 

When Ben rejoined Elsie and they strolled on the 
lawn, the military commandant suddenly confronted 
them with a squad of soldiers. 

"I'll trouble you for those buttons and shoulder 
straps," said the Captain. 

Elsie's amber eyes began to spit fire. Ben stood still 
and smiled. 

"What do you mean?" she asked. 

"That I will not be insulted by the wearing of this 
uniform to-day." 



By the Light of a Torch 257 

"I dare you to touch it, coward, poltroon!" cried the 
girl, her plump little figure bristling in front of her lover. 

Ben laid his hand on her arm and gently drew her 
back to his side: "He has the power to do this. It is a 
technical violation of law to wear them. I have surren- 
dered. I am a gentleman and I have been a soldier. He 
can have his tribute. I've promised my father to offer no 
violence to the military authority of the United States." 

He stepped forward, and the officer cut the buttons 
from his coat and ripped the straps from his shoulders. 

While the performance was going on, Ben quietly said: 

" General Grant at Appomattox, with the instincts of 
a great soldier, gave our men his spare horses and ordered 
that Confederate officers retain their side-arms. The 
General is evidently not in touch with this force." 

"No: I'm in command in this county," said the 
Captain. 

"Evidently." 

When he had gone, Elsie's eyes were dim. They 
strolled under the shadow of the great oak and stood in 
silence, listening to the music within and the distant 
murmur of the falls. 

"Why is it, sweetheart, that a girl will persist in admir- 
ing brass buttons?" Ben asked softly. 

She raised her lips to his for a kiss and answered: 

"Because a soldier's business is to die for his country." 

As Ben led her back into the ballroom and surren- 
dered her to a friend for a dance, the first gun pealed its 
note of victory from the square in the celebration of the 
triumph of the African slave over his white master. 



258 The Clansman 

Ben strolled out in the street to hear the news. 

The Constitution had been ratified by an enormous 
majority, and a Legislature elected composed of 101 ne- 
groes and 23 white men. Silas Lynch had been elected 
Lieutenant-Governor, a negro Secretary of State, a 
negro Treasurer, and a negro Justice of the Supreme 
Court. 

When Bizzel, the wizzen-faced agent of the Freedman's 
Bureau, made this announcement from the courthouse 
steps, pandemonium broke lose. An incessant rattle of 
musketry began in which ball cartridges were used, the 
missiles whistling over the town in every direction. Yet 
within half an hour the square was deserted and a strange 
quiet followed the storm. 

Old Aleck staggered by the hotel, his drunkenness 
having reached the religious stage. 

"Behold, a curiosity, gentlemen," cried Ben to a group 
of boys who had gathered, "a voter is come among us— 
in fact, he is the people, the king, our representative 
elect, the Honourable Alexander Lenoir, of the county of 
Ulster!" 

"Gemmens, de Lawd's bin good ter me," said Aleck, 
weeping copiously. 

"They say the rat labels were in a majority in this pre- 
cinct — how was that?" asked Ben. 

"Yessah — dat what de scornful say — dem dat sets in 
de seat o' de scornful, but de Lawd er Hosts He fetch 'em 
low. Mistah Bissel de Buro man count all dem rat votes 
right, sah — dey couldn't fool him — he know what dey 
mean — he count 'em all for me an' de ratification." 



By the Light of a Torch 259 

"Sure-pop!" said Ben; "if you can't ratify with a rat, 
I'd like to know why? " 

"Dat's what I tells 'em, sah." 

"Of course," said Ben good-humouredly. "The voice 
of the people is the voice of God — rats or no rats — if you 
know how to count." 

As old Aleck staggered away, the sudden crash of a 
volley of musketry echoed in the distance. 

"What's that?" asked Ben, listening intently. The 
sound was unmistakable to a soldier's ear — that volley 
from a hundred rifles at a single word of command. It 
was followed by a shot on a hill in the distance, and then 
by a faint echo, farther still. Ben listened a few moments 
and turned into the lawn of the hotel. The music sud- 
denly stopped, the tramp of feet echoed on the porch, a 
woman screamed, and from the rear of the house came the 
cry: 

"Fire! Fire!" 

Almost at the same moment an immense sheet of flame 
shot skyward from the big barn. 

"My God!" groaned Ben. "Jake's in jail to-night, 
and they've set the barn on fire. It's worth more than 
the house." 

The crowd rushed down the hill to the blazing building, 
Marion's fleet figure in its flying white dress leading the 
crowd. 

The lowing of the cows and the wild neighing of the 
horses rang above the roar of the flames. 

Before Ben could reach the spot Marion had opened 
every stall. Two cows leaped out to safety, but not a 



260 The Clansman 

horse would move from its stall, and each moment wilder 
and more pitiful grew their death cries. 

Marion rushed to Ben, her eyes dilated, her face as 
white as the dress she wore. 

" Oh, Ben, Queen won't come out ! What shall I do? " 

"You can do nothing, child. A horse won't come out 
of a burning stable unless he's blindfolded. They'll all be 
burned to death." 

" Oh ! no ! " the girl cried in agony. 

"They'd trample you to death if you tried to get them, 
out. It can't be helped. It's too late." 

As Ben looked back at the gathering crowd, Marion 
suddenly snatched a horse blanket, lying at the door, ran 
with the speed of a deer to the pond, plunged in, sprang out, 
and sped back to the open door of Queen's stall, through 
which her shrill cry could be heard above the others. 

As the girl ran toward the burning building, her thiri 
white dress clinging close to her exquisite form, she looked 
like the marble figure of a sylph by the hand of some great 
master into which God had suddenly breathed the breath 
of life. 

As they saw her purpose, a cry of horror rose from the 
crowd, her mother's scream loud above the rest. 

Ben rushed to catch her, shouting: 

"Marion! Marion! She'll trample you to death!" 

He was too late. She leaped into the stall. The 
crowd held their breath. There was a moment of awful 
suspense, and the mare sprang through the open door 
with the little white figure clinging to her mane and hold- 
ing the blanket over her head. 



By the Light of a Torch 261 

A cheer rang above the roar of the flames. The girl 
did not loose her hold until her beautiful pet was led to a 
place of safety, while she clung to her neck and laughed 
and cried for joy. First her mother, then Margaret, 
Mrs. Cameron, and Elsie took her in their arms. 

As Ben approached the group, Elsie whispered to him: 
"Kiss her!" 

Ben took her hand, his eyes full of unshed tears, and said : 

"The bravest deed a woman ever did — you're a heroine, 
Marion!" 

Before she knew it he stooped and kissed her. 

She was very still for a moment, smiled, trembled from 
head to foot, blushed scarlet, took her mother by the 
hand, and without a word hurried to the house. 

Poor Becky was whining among the excited crowd and 
sought in vain for Marion. At last she got Margaret's 
attention, caught her dress in her teeth and led her 
to a corner of the lot, where she had laid side by side her 
puppies, smothered to death. She stood and looked at 
them with her tail drooping, the picture of despair. Mar- 
garet burst into tears and called Ben. 

He bent and put his arm around the setter's neck and 
stroked her head with his hand. Looking at up his sister, 
he said: 

"Don't tell Marion of this. She can't stand any more 
to-night." 

The crowd had all dispersed, and the flames had died 
down for want of fuel. The odour of roasting flesh, pun- 
gent and acrid, still lingered a sharp reminder of the 
tragedy. 



262 The Clansman 

Ben stood on the back porch, talking in low tones to his 
father. 

"Will you join us now, sir? We need the name and in- 
fluence of men of your standing." 

"My boy, two wrongs never made a right. It's better 
to endure awhile. The sober commonsense of the Na- 
tion will yet save us. We must appeal to it." 

"Eight more fires were seen from town to-night." 

"You only guess their origin." 

"I know their origin. It was done by the League at 
a signal as a celebration of the election and a threat of 
terror to the county. One of our men concealed a faith- 
ful negro under the floor of the school-house and heard 
the plot hatched. We expected it a month ago — but 
hoped they had given it up." 

"Even so, my boy, a secret society such as you have 
planned means a conspiracy that may bring exile or 
death. I hate lawlessness and disorder. We have had 
enough of it. Your clan means ultimately martial law. 
At least we will get rid of these soldiers by this election. 
They have done their worst to me, but we may save 
others by patience." 

"It's the only way, sir. The next step will be a black 
hand on a white woman's throat! " 

The doctor frowned. "Let us hope for the best. 
Your clan is the last act of desperation." 

"But if everything else fail, and this creeping horror 
becomes a fact — then what? " 

"My boy, we will pray that God may never let us live 
to see the day!" 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Riot in the Master's Hall 

jk LARMED at the possible growth of the secret clan 

/% into which Ben had urged him to enter, Dr. 
X. jL Cameron determined to press for relief from op- 
pression by an open appeal to the conscience of the Na- 
tion. 

He called a meeting of conservative leaders in a 
Taxpayers' Convention at Columbia. His position as 
leader had been made supreme by the indignities he 
had suffered, and he felt sure of his ability to accomplish 
results. Every county in the State was represented by 
its best men in this gathering at the Capitol. 

The day he undertook to present his memorial to the 
Legislature was one he never forgot. The streets were 
crowded with negroes who had come to town to hear 
Lynch, the Lieutenant-Governor, speak in a mass-meet- 
ing. Negro policemen swung their clubs in his face as 
he pressed through the insolent throng up the street to 
the stately marble Capitol. At the door a black, greasy 
trooper stopped him to parley. Every decently dressed 
white man was regarded a spy. 

As he passed inside the doors of the House of Repre- 
sentatives the rush of foul air staggered him. The reek 
of vile cigars and stale whiskey, mingled with the odour of 
263 



264 The Clansman 

perspiring negroes, was overwhelming. He paused and 
gasped for breath. 

The space behind the seats of the members was strewn 
with corks, broken glass, stale crusts, greasy pieces of 
paper, and picked bones. The hall was packed with 
negroes, smoking, chewing, jabbering, pushing, perspir- 
ing. 

A carpet-bagger at his elbow was explaining to an old 
darkey from down east why his forty acres and a mule 
hadn't come. 

On the other side of him a big negro bawled: 

" Dat's all right ! De cullud man on top ! " 

The doctor surveyed the hall in dismay. At first not a 
white member was visible. The galleries were packed 
with negroes. The Speaker presiding was a negro, the 
Clerk a negro, the doorkeepers negroes, the little pages all 
coal-black negroes, the Chaplain a negro. The negro 
party consisted of one hundred and one — ninety-four 
blacks and seven scallawags, who claimed to be white. 
The remains of Aryan civilization were represented by 
twenty-three white men from the Scotch-Irish hill 
counties. 

The doctor had served three terms as the member from 
Ulster in this hall in the old days, and its appearance 
now was beyond any conceivable depth of degradation. 

The ninety-four Africans, constituting almost its solid 
membership, were a motley crew. Every negro type was 
there, from the genteel butler to the clodhopper from the 
cotton and rice fields. Some had on second-hand seedy 
frock-coats their old master had given them before the 



The Riot in the Master's Hall 265 

war, glossy and threadbare. Old stovepipe hats, of every 
style in vogue since Noah came out of the ark, were 
placed conspicuously on the desks or cocked on the backs 
of the heads of the honourable members. Some wore the 
coarse clothes of the field, stained with red mud. 

Old Aleck, he noted, had a red woollen comforter wound 
round his neck in place of a shirt or collar. He had tried 
to go barefooted, but the Speaker had issued a rule that 
members should come shod. He was easing his feet by 
placing his brogans under the desk, wearing only his red 
socks. 

Each member had his name painted in enormous gold 
letters on his desk, and had placed beside it a sixty-dollar 
French imported spittoon. Even the Congress of the 
United States, under the inspiration of Oakes Ames and 
Speaker Colfax, could only afford one of domestic make, 
which cost a dollar. 

The uproar was deafening. From four to six negroes 
were trying to speak at the same time. Aleck's majestic 
mouth with blue gums and projecting teeth led the chorus- 
as he ambled down the aisle, his bow-legs flying their red- 
sock ensigns. 

The Speaker singled him out — his voice was something- 
which simply could not be ignored — rapped and yelled : 

" De gemman from Ulster set down ! " 

Aleck turned crestfallen and resumed his seat, throw- 
ing his big flat feet in their red woollens up on his desk 
and hiding his face behind their enormous spread. 

He had barely settled in his chair before a new idea 
flashed through his head and up he jumped again: 



266 The Clansman 

"Mistah Speaker!" he bawled. 

"Orda da!" yelled another. 

"Knock 'im in de head!" 

" Seddown, nigger! " 

The Speaker pointed his gavel at Aleck and threatened 
him laughingly: 

"Ef de gemman from Ulster doan set down I gwine call 
'im ter orda!" 

Uncle Aleck greeted this threat with a wild guffaw, 
which the whole House about him joined in heartily. 
They laughed like so many hens cackling — when one 
started the others would follow. 

The most of them were munching peanuts, and the 
crush of hulls under heavy feet added a subnote to the 
confusion like the crackle of a prairie fire. 

The ambition of each negro seemed to be to speak at 
least a half-dozen times on each question, saying the same 
thing every time. 

No man was allowed to talk five minutes without an 
interruption which brought on another and another 
until the speaker was drowned in a storm of contending 
yells. Their struggles to get the floor with bawlings, 
bellowings, and contortions, and the senseless rap of the 
Speaker's gavel, were something appalling. 

On this scene, through fetid smoke and animal roar, 
looked down from the walls, in marble bas-relief, the still 
white faces of Robert Hayne and George McDuffie, 
through whose veins flowed the blood of Scottish kings, 
while over it brooded in solemn wonder the face of John 
Laurens, whose diplomatic genius at the court of France 



The Riot in the Master's Hall 267 

won millions of gold for our tottering cause, and sent a 
French fleet and army into the Chesapeake to entrap 
Cornwallis at Yorktown. 

The little group of twenty-three white men, the descend- 
ants of these spirits, to whom Dr. Cameron had brought 
his memorial, presented a pathetic spectacle. Most of 
them were old men, who sat in grim silence with nothing 
to do or say as they watched the rising black tide, their 
dignity, reserve, and decorum at once the wonder and the 
shame of the modern world. 

At least they knew that the minstrel farce being en- 
acted on that floor was a tragedy as deep and dark as 
was ever woven of the blood and tears of a conquered 
people. Beneath those loud guffaws they could hear the 
death rattle in the throat of their beloved State, barbarism 
strangling civilization by brute force. 

For all the stupid uproar, the black leaders of this mob 
knew what they wanted. One of them was speaking now, 
the leader of the House, the Honourable Napoleon 
Whipper. 

Dr. Cameron had taken his seat in the little group of 
white members in one corner of the chamber, beside an 
old friend from an adjoining county whom he had known 
in better days. 

"Now listen," said his friend. "When Whipper talks 
he always says something." 

"Mr. Speaker, I move you, sir, in view of the arduous 
duties which our presiding officer has performed this 
week for the State, that he be allowed one thousand 
dollars extra pay." 



268 The Clansman 

The motion was put without debate and carried. 

The Speaker then called Whipper to the Chair and 
made the same motion, to give the Leader of the House 
an extra thousand dollars for the performance of his heavy 
duties. 

It was carried. 

"What does that mean?" asked the doctor. 

"Very simple; Whipper and the Speaker adjourned the 
House yesterday afternoon to attend a horse race. They 
lost a thousand dollars each betting on the wrong horse. 
They are recuperating after the strain. They are booked 
for judges of the Supreme Court when they finish this job. 
The negro mass-meeting to-night is to indorse their names 
for the Supreme Bench." 

"Is it possible!" the doctor exclaimed. 

When Whipper resumed his place at his desk, the intro- 
duction of bills began. One after another were sent to 
the Speaker's desk, a measure to disarm the whites and 
equip with modern rifles a negro militia of 80,000 men; 
to make the uniform of Confederate gray the garb of con- 
victs in South Carolina, with a sign of the rank to signify 
the degree of crime; to prevent any person calling another 
a "nigger"; to require men to remove their hats in the 
presence of all officers, civil or military, and all disfran- 
chised men to remove their hats in the presence of voters; 
to force black and whites to attend the same schools and 
open the State University to negroes; to permit the inter- 
marriage of whites and blacks; and to inforce social 
equality. 

Whipper made a brief speech on the last measure: 



The Riot in the Master's Hall 269 

"Before I am through, I mean that it shall be known 
that Napoleon Whipper is as good as any man in South 
Carolina. Don't tell me that I am not on an equality with 
any man God ever made." 

Dr. Cameron turned pale, and trembling with excite- 
ment, asked his friend: 

"Can that man pass such measures, and the Governor 
sign them? " 

"He can pass anything he wishes. The Governor is 
his creature — a dirty little scallawag who tore the Union 
flag from Fort Sumter, trampled it in the dust, and helped 
raise the flag of Confederacy over it. Now he is backed 
by the Government at Washington. He won his election 
by dancing at negro balls and the purchase of delegates. 
His salary as Governor is $3,500 a year, and he spends 
over $40,000. Comment is unnecessary. This Legis- 
lature has stolen millions of dollars, and already bank- 
rupted the treasury. The day Howie was elected to the 
Senate of the United States every negro on the floor had 
his roll of bills and some of them counted it out on their 
desks. In your day the annual cost of the State govern- 
ment was $400,000. This year it is $2,000,000. These 
thieves steal daily. They don't deny it. They simply 
dare you to prove it. The writing paper on the desks 
cost $16,000. These clocks on the wall $600 each, and 
every little Radical newspaper in the State has been sub- 
sidized in sums varying from $1,000 to $7,000. Each 
member is allowed to draw for mileage, per diem, and 
'sundries.' God only knows what the bill for 'sundries' 
will aggregate by the end of the session." 



270 The Clansman 

"I couldn't conceive of this!" exclaimed the doctor. 

" I've only given you a hint. We are a conquered race. 
The iron hand of Fate is on us. We can only wait for the 
shadows to deepen into night. President Grant appears 
to be a babe in the woods. Schuyler Colfax, the Vice- 
president, and Belknap, the Secretary of War, are in the 
saddle in Washington. I hear things are happening 
there that are quite interesting. Besides, Congress now 
can give little relief. The real lawmaking power in 
America is the State Legislature. The State lawmaker 
enters into the holy of holies of our daily life. Once 
more we are a sovereign State — a sovereign negro 
State." 

"I fear my mission is futile," said the doctor. 

"It's ridiculous — I'll call for you to-night and take you 
to hear Lynch, our Lieutenant-Governor. He is a remark- 
able man. Our negro Supreme Court Judge will pre- 
side " 

Uncle Aleck, who had suddenly spied Dr. Cameron, 
broke in with a laughing welcome: 

"I 'clar ter goodness, Dr. Cammun, I didn't know you 
wuz here, sah. I sho' glad ter see you. I axes yer ter 
come across de street ter my room; I got sumfin' pow'ful 
pertickler ter say ter you." 

The doctor followed Aleck out of the hall and across 
the street to his room in a little boarding-house. His door 
was locked, and the windows darkened by blinds. In- 
stead of opening the blinds he lighted a lamp. 

"Ob cose, Dr. Cammun, you say nuffin 'bout what I 
gwine tell you? " 



The Riot in the Master's Hall 271 

" Certainly not, Aleck." 

The room was full of drygoods boxes. The space under 
the bed was packed, and they were piled to the ceiling 
around the walls. 

"Why, what's all this, Aleck?" 

The member from Ulster chuckled: 

"Dr. Cammun, yu'se been er pow'ful frien' ter me — 
gimme medicine lots er times, en I hain't nebber paid 
you nuttin'. I'se sho' come inter de kingdom now, en I 
wants ter pay my respects ter you, sah. Des look ober 
dat paper, en mark what you wants, en I hab 'em sont 
home fur you." 

The member from Ulster handed his physician a 
printed list of more than rive hundred articles of merchan- 
dise. The doctor read it over with amazement. 

"I don't understand it, Aleck. Do you own a store?" 

"Na-sah, but we git all we wants fum mos' eny ob 'em. 
Dem's 'sundries,' sah, dat de Gubment gibs de members. 
We des orda what we needs. No trouble 'tall, sah. De 
men what got de goods come roun' en beg us ter take 'em." 

The doctor smiled in spite of the tragedy back of the 
joke. 

"Let's see some of the goods, Aleck — are they first 
class?" 

" Yessah; de bes' goin'. I show you." 

He pulled out a number of boxes and bundles, exhibit- 
ing carpets, door mats, hassocks, dog collars, cow bells, 
oilcloths, velvets, mosquito nets, damask, Irish linen, 
billiard outfits, towels, blankets, flannels, quilts, women's 
hoods, hats, ribbons, pins, needles, scissors, dumb bells, 



272 The Clansman 

skates, crape skirt braids, tooth brushes, face powder, 
hooks and eyes, skirts, bustles, chignons, garters, artificial 
busts, chemises, parasols, watches, jewellery, diamond ear- 
rings, ivory-handled knives and forks, pistols and 
guns, and a Webster's Dictionary. 

" Got lots mo' in dem boxes nailed up dar — yessah, hit's 
no use er lettin' good tings go by yer when you kin des put 
out yer han' en stop 'em! Some er de members ordered 
horses en carriages, but I tuk er par er fine mules wid 
harness en two buggies an er wagin. Dey 'roun at de 
libry stable, sah." 

The doctor thanked Aleck for his friendly feeling, but 
told him it was, of course, impossible for him at this time, 
being only a taxpayer and neither a voter nor a mem- 
ber of the Legislature, to share in his supply of " sundries." 

He went to the warehouse that night with his friend to 
hear Lynch, wondering if his mind were capable of re- 
ceiving another shock. 

This meeting had been called to indorse the candidacy, 
for Justice of the Supreme Court, of Napoleon Whipper, 
the Leader of the House, the notorious negro thief and 
gambler, and of William Pitt Moses, an ex-convict, his 
confederate in crime. They had been unanimously chosen 
for the positions by a secret caucus of the ninety-four 
negro members of the House. This addition to the Court, 
with the negro already a member, would give a majority 
to the black man on the last Tribunal of Appeal. 

The few white men of the party who had any sense of 
decency were in open revolt at this atrocity. But their 
influence was on the wane. The carpet-bagger shaped 



The Riot in the Master's Hall 273 

the first Convention and got the first plums of office. 
Now the negro was in the saddle, and he meant to stay. 
There were not enough white men in the Legislature to 
force a roll-call on a division of the House. This meeting 
was an open defiance of all pale-faces inside or outside 
party lines. 

Every inch of space in the big cotton warehouse was 
jammed — a black living cloud, pungent and piercing. 

The distinguished Lieutenant-Governor, Silas Lynch, 
had not yet arrived, but the negro Justice of the Supreme 
Court, Pinchback, was in his seat as the presiding officer. 

Dr. Cameron watched the movements of the black 
judge, already notorious for the sale of his opinions, with 
a sense of sickening horror. This man was but yesterday 
a slave, his father a medicine man in an African jungle 
who decided the guilt or innocence of the accused by the 
test of administering poison. If the poison killed the man, 
he was guilty; if he survived, he was innocent. For 
four thousand years his land had stood a solid bulwark 
of unbroken barbarism. Out of its darkness he had 
been thrust upon the seat of judgment of the laws of the 
proudest and highest type of man evolved in time. It 
seemed a hideous dream. 

His thoughts were interrupted by a shout. It came 
spontaneous and tremendous in its genuine feeling. The 
magnificent figure of Lynch, their idol, appeared walking 
down the aisle escorted by the little scallawag who was the 
Governor. 

He took his seat on the platform with the easy assur- 
ance of conscious power. His broad shoulders, superb 



274 The Clansman 

head, and gleaming jungle eyes held every man in the 
audience before he had spoken a word. 

In the first masterful tones of his voice the doctor's 
keen intelligence caught the ring of his savage metal and 
felt the shock of his powerful personality — a personality 
which had thrown to the winds every mask, whose sole 
aim of life was sensual, whose only fears were of physical 
pain and death, who could worship a snake and sacrifice a 
human being. 

His playful introduction showed him a child of Mys- 
tery, moved by Voices and inspired by a Fetish. His face 
was full of good humour, and his whole figure rippled with 
sleek animal vivacity. For the moment, life was a 
comedy and a masquerade teeming with whims, fancies, 
ecstasies and superstitions. 

He held the surging crowd in the hollow of his hand. 
They yelled, laughed, howled, or wept as he willed. 

Now he painted in burning words the imaginary hor- 
rors of slavery until the tears rolled down his cheeks and 
he wept at the sound of his own voice. Every dusky 
hearer burst into tears and moans. 

He stopped, suddenly brushed the tears from his eyes, 
sprang to the edge of the platform, threw both arms above 
his head and shouted: 

"Hosannah to the Lord God Almighty for Emancipa- 
tion!" 

Instantly five thousand negroes, as one man, were on 
their feet, shouting and screaming. Their shouts rose 
in unison, swelled into a thunder peal, and died away as 
one voice. 



The Riot in the Master's Hall 275 

Dead silence followed, and every eye was again riveted 
on Lynch. For two hours the doctor sat transfixed, 
listening and watching him sway the vast audience with 
hypnotic power. 

There was not one note of hesitation or of doubt. It 
was the challenge of race against race to mortal combat. 
His closing words again swept every negro from his seat 
and melted every voice into a single frenzied shout: 

"Within five years," he cried, "the intelligence and the 
wealth of this mighty State will be transferred to the 
negro race. Lift up your heads. The world is yours. 
Take it. Here and now I serve notice on every white 
man who breathes that I am as good as he is. I demand, 
and I am going to have, the privilege of going to see him 
in his house or his hotel, eating with him and sleeping 
with him, and when I see fit, to take his daughter in 
marriage!" 

As the doctor emerged from the stifling crowd with his 
friend, he drew a deep breath of fresh air, took from his 
pocket his conservative memorial, picked it into little 
bits, and scattered them along the street as he walked in 
silence back to his hotel. 



CHAPTER IX 
At Lover's Leap 

IN spite of the pitiful collapse of old Stoneman under 
his stroke of paralysis, his children still saw the un- 
conquered soul shining in his colourless eyes. They 
had both been on the point of confessing their love 
affairs to him and joining in the inevitable struggle when 
he was stricken. They knew only too well that he would 
not consent to a dual alliance with the Camerons under the 
conditions of fierce hatreds and violence into which the 
State had drifted. They were too high-minded to con- 
sider a violation of his wishes while thus helpless, with his 
strange eyes following them about in childlike eagerness. 
His weakness was mightier than his iron will. 

So, for eighteen months, while he slowly groped out of 
mental twilight, each had waited — Elsie with a tender 
faith struggling with despair, and Phil in a torture of 
uncertainty and fear. 

In the meantime, the young Northerner had become as 
radical in his sympathies with the Southern people as his 
father had ever been against them. This power of as- 
similation has always been a mark of Southern genius. 
The sight of the Black Hand on their throats now roused 
his righteous indignation. The patience with which they 
endured was to him amazing. The Southerner he had 
276 



At Lover's Leap 277 

found to be the last man on earth to become a revolution- 
ist. All his traits were against it. His genius for command , 
the deep sense of duty and honour, his hospitality, his 
deathless love of home, his supreme constancy and sense 
of civic unity, all combined to make him ultraconserva- 
tive. He began now to see that it was reverence for 
authority as expressed in the Constitution tinder which 
slavery was established which made Secession inevitable. 

Besides, the laziness and incapacity of the negro had 
been more than he could endure. With no ties of tradi- 
tion or habits of life to bind him, he simply refused to 
tolerate them. In this feeling Elsie had grown early to 
sympathize. She discharged Aunt Cindy for feeding her 
children from the kitchen, and brought a cook and house 
girl from the North, while Phil would employ only white 
men in any capacity. 

In the desolation of negro rule the Cameron farm had 
become worthless. The taxes had more than absorbed 
the income, and the place was only kept from execution 
by the indomitable energy of Mrs. Cameron, who made 
the hotel pay enough to carry the interest on a mortgage 
which was increasing from season to season. 

The doctor's practice was with him a divine calling. 
He never sent bills to his patients. They paid something 
if they had it. Now they had nothing. 

Ben's law practice was large for his age and experience, 
but his clients had no money. 

While the Camerons were growing each day poorer, 
Phil was becoming rich. His genius, skill, and enter- 
prise had been quick to see the possibilities of the water- 



278 The Clansman 

power. The old Eagle cotton mills had been burned 
during the war. Phil organized the Eagle & Phcenix 
Company, interested Northern capitalists, bought the 
falls, and erected two great mills, the dim hum of whose 
spindles added a new note to the river's music. Eager, 
swift, modest, his head full of ideas, his heart full of faith, 
he had pressed forward to success. 

As the old Commoner's mind began to clear, and his 
recovery was sure, Phil determined to press his suit for 
Margaret's hand to an issue. 

Ben had dropped a hint of an interview of the Rev. 
Hugh McAlpin with Dr. Cameron, which had thrown 
Phil into a cold sweat. 

He hurried to the hotel to ask Margaret to drive with 
him that afternoon. He would stop at Lover's Leap and 
settle the question. 

He met the preacher, just emerging from the door, calm, 
handsome, serious, and Margaret by his side. The 
dark-haired beauty seemed strangely serene. What 
could it mean? His heart was in his throat. Was he 
too late? Wreathed in smiles when the preacher had 
gone, the girl's face was a riddle he could not solve. 

To his joy, she consented to go. 

As he left in his trim little buggy for the hotel, he 
stooped and kissed Elsie, whispering: 

"Make an offering on the altar of love for me, Sis! " 

" You're too slow. The prayers of all the saints will 
not save you!" she replied with a laugh, throwing him a 
kiss as he disappeared in the dust. 

As they drove through the great forest on the cliffs 



At Lover's Leap 279 

overlooking the river, the Southern world seemed lit with 
new splendours to-day for the Northerner. His heart beat 
with a strange courage. The odour of the pines, their 
sighing music, the subtone of the falls below, the subtle 
life-giving perfume of the fullness of summer, the splen- 
dour of the sun gleaming through the deep foliage, and the 
sweet sensuous air, all seemed incarnate in the calm, 
lovely face and gracious figure beside him. 

They took their seat on the old rustic built against the 
beech, which was the last tree on the brink of the cliff. 
A hundred feet below flowed the river, rippling softly 
along a narrow strip of sand which its current had thrown 
against the rocks. The ledge of towering granite formed 
a cave eighty feet in depth at the water's edge. From 
this projecting wall, tradition said a young Indian princess 
once leaped with her lover, fleeing from the wrath of a 
cruel father who had separated them. The cave be- 
low was inaccessible from above, being reached by a nar- 
row footpath along the river's edge when entered a mile 
downstream. 

The view from the seat, under the beech, was one of mar- 
vellous beauty. For miles the broad river rolled in calm, 
shining glory seaward, its banks fringed with cane and 
trees, while fields of corn and cotton spread in waving green 
toward the distant hills and blue mountains of the west. 

Every tree on this cliff was cut with the initials of gen- 
erations of lovers from Piedmont. 

They sat in silence for awhile, Margaret idly playing 
with a flower she had picked by the pathway, and Phil 
watching her devoutly. 



280 The Clansman 

The Southern sun had tinged her face the reddish 
warm hue of ripened fruit, doubly radiant by contrast 
with her wealth of dark-brown hair. The lustrous glance 
of her eyes, half veiled by their long lashes, and the grace- 
ful, careless pose of her stately figure held him enraptured. 
Her dress of airy, azure blue, so becoming to her dark 
beauty, gave Phil the impression of eiderdown feathers 
of some rare bird of the tropics. He felt that if he dared 
to touch her she might lift her wings and sail over the 
cliff into the sky and forget to light again at his side. 

"I am going to ask a very bold and impertinent ques- 
tion, Miss Margaret," Phil said with resolution. "May 
1?" 

Margaret smiled incredulously. 

" J'll risk your impertinence, and decide as to its bold- 
ness." 

" Tell me, please, what that preacher said to you to- 
day." 

Margaret looked away, unable to suppress the merri- 
ment that played about her eyes and mouth. 

"Will you never breathe it to a soul if I do? " 

"Never." 

"Honest Injun, here on the sacred altar of the prin- 
cess? " 

"On my honour." 

"Then I'll tell you," she said, biting her lips to keep 
back a laugh. "Mr. McAlpin is very handsome and elo- 
quent. I have always thought him the best preacher we 
have ever had in Piedmont " 

"Yes, I know," Phil interrupted with a frown. 



At Lover's Leap 281 

"He is very pious," she went on evenly, "and seeks 
Divine guidance in prayer in everything he does. He 
called this morning to see me, and I was playing for him in 
the little music-room off the parlour, when he suddenly 
closed the door and said: 

" ' Miss Margaret, I am going to take, this morning, the 
most important step of my life ' 

"Of course I hadn't the remotest idea what he 
meant 

" 'Will you join me in a word of prayer?' he asked, and 
knelt right down. I was accustomed, of course, to kneel 
with him in family worship at his pastoral calls, and so 
from habit I slipped to one knee by the piano stool, won- 
dering what on earth he was about. When he prayed 
with fervour for the Lord to bless the great love with 
which he hoped to hallow my life — I giggled. It broke 
up the meeting. He rose and asked me to marry him. I 
told him the Lord hadn't revealed it to me " 

Phil seized her hand and held it firmly. The smile 
died from the girl's face, her hand trembled, and the rose 
tint on her cheeks flamed to scarlet. 

"Margaret, my own, I love you," he cried with joy. 
"You could have told that story only to the one man 
whom you love — is it not true? " 

"Yes. I've loved you always," said the low, sweet 
voice. 

"Always?" asked Phil through a tear. 

"Before I saw you, when they told me you were asBen's 
twin brother, my heart began to sing at the sound of your 
name " 



282 The Clansman 

"Call it," he whispered. 

"Phil, my sweetheart!" she said with a laugh. 

"How tender and homelike the music of your voice! 
The world has never seen the match of your gracious 
Southern womanhood! Snowbound in the North, I 
dreamed, as a child, of this world of eternal sunshine. 
And now every memory and dream I've found in you." 

"And you won't be disappointed in my simple ideal 
that finds its all within a home? " 

"No. I love the old-fashioned dream of the South. 
Maybe you have enchanted me, but I love these green 
hills and mountains, these rivers musical with cascade 
and fall, these solemn forests — but for the Black Curse, 
the South would be to-day the garden of the world ! " 

"And you will help our people lift this curse?" softly 
asked the girl, nestling closer to his side. 

"Yes, dearest, thy people shall be mine! Had I a 
thousand wrongs to cherish, I'd forgive them all for your 
sake. I'll help you build here a new South on all that's 
good and noble in the old, until its dead fields blossom 
again, its harbours bristle with ships, and the hum of a 
thousand industries make music in every valley. I'd 
sing to you in burning verse if I could, but it is not my 
way. I have been awkward and slow in love, perhaps — 
but I'll be swift in your service. I dream to make dead 
stones and wood live and breathe for you, of victories 
wrung from Nature that are yours. My poems will be 
deeds, my flowers the hard-earned wealth that has a soul, 
which I shall lay at your feet." 
L "Who said my lover was dumb?" she sighed, with a 



At Lover's Leap 283 

twinkle in her shining eyes. "You must introduce me 
to your father soon. He must like me as my father does 
you, or our dream can never come true." 

A pain gripped Phil's heart, but he answered bravely: 

"I will. He can't help loving you." 

They stood on the rustic seat to carve their initials 
within a circle, high on the old beechwood book of love. 

"May I write it out in full — Margaret Cameron — 
Philip Stoneman? " he asked. 

"No — only the initials now — the full names when 
you've seen my father and I've seen yours. Jeannie 
Campbell and Henry Lenoir were once written thus in 
full, and many a lover has looked at that circle and prayed 
for happiness like theirs. You can see there a new one cut 
over the old, the bark has filled, and written on the fresh 
page is 'Marion Lenoir' with the blank below for her 
lover's name." 

Phil looked at the freshly cut circle and laughed: 

"I wonder if Marion or her mother did that? " 

"Her mother, of course." 

"I wonder whose will be the lucky name some day 
within it? " said Phil musingly as he finished his own. 



CHAPTER X 
A Night Hawk 

WHEN the old Commoner's private physician 
had gone and his mind had fully cleared, he 
would sit for hours in the sunshine of the vine- 
clad porch, asking Elsie of the village, its life, and its peo- 
ple. He smiled good-naturedly at her eager sympathy 
for their sufferings as at the enthusiasm of a child who 
could not understand. He had come possessed by a 
great idea — events must submit to it. Her assurance 
that the poverty and losses of the people were far in ex- 
cess of the worst they had known during the war was too 
absurd even to secure his attention. 

He had refused to know any of the people, ignoring the 
existence of Elsie's callers. But he had fallen in love 
with Marion from the moment he had seen her. The 
cold eye of the old fox hunter kindled with the fire of his 
forgotten youth at the sight of this beautiful girl seated 
on the glistening back of the mare she had saved from 
death. 

As she rode through the village every boy lifted his hat 
as to passing royalty, and no one, old or young, could 
allow her to pass without a cry of admiration. Her ex- 
quisite figure had developed into the full tropic splendour 
of Southern girlhood. 

284 



A Night Hawk 285 

She had rejected three proposals from ardent lovers, on 
one of whom her mother had quite set her heart. A great 
fear had grown in Mrs. Lenoir's mind lest she were in 
love with Ben Cameron. She slipped her arm around 
her one day and timidly asked her. 

A faint flush tinged Marion's face up to the roots of her 
delicate blonde hair, and she answered with a quick 
laugh: 

"Mamma, how silly you are! You know I've always 
been in love with Ben — since I can first remember. I 
know he is in love with Elsie Stoneman. I am too young, 
the world too beautiful, and life too sweet to grieve over 
my first baby love. I expect to dance with him at his 
wedding, then meet my fate and build my own nest." 

Old Stoneman begged that she come every day to see 
him. He never tired praising her to Elsie. As she 
walked gracefully up to the house one afternoon, holding 
Hugh by the hand, he said to Elsie: 

"Next to you, my dear, she is the most charming 
creature I ever saw. Her tenderness for everything that 
needs help touches the heart of an old lame man in a very 
soft spot." 

"I've never seen any one who could resist her," Elsie 
answered. "Her gloves may be worn, her feet clad in old 
shoes, yet she is always neat, graceful, dainty, and serene. 
No wonder her mother worships her." 

Sam Ross, her simple friend, had stopped at the gate, 
and looked over into the lawn as if afraid to come in. 

When Marion saw Sam, she turned back to the gate to 
invite him in. The keeper of the poor, a vicious-looking 



286 The Clansman 

negro, suddenly confronted him, and he shrank in terror 
close to the girl's side. 

"What you doin' here, sah?" the black keeper railed. 
"Ain't I done tole you 'bout runnin' away?" 

"You let him alone," Marion cried. 

The negro pushed her roughly from his side and knocked 
Sam down. The girl screamed for help, and old Stone- 
man hobbled down the steps, following Elsie. 

When they reached the gate, Marion was bending over 
the prostrate form. 

"Oh, my, my, I believe he's killed him!" she wailed. 

"Run for the doctor, sonny, quick," Stoneman said 
to Hugh. The boy darted away and brought Dr. 
Cameron. 

" How dare you strike that man, you devil? " thundered 
the old statesman. 

"'Case I tole 'im ter stay home en do de wuk I put 
'im at, en he all de time runnin' off here ter git somfin' 
ter eat. I gwine frail de life outen 'im, ef he doan min' 
me." 

"Well, you make tracks back to the Poorhouse. I'll 
attend to this man, and I'll have you arrested for this 
before night," said Stoneman, with a scowl. 

The black keeper laughed as he left. 

"Not 'less you'se er bigger man dan Gubner Silas 
Lynch, you won't!" 

When Dr. Cameron had restored Sam, and dressed the 
wound on his head where he had struck a stone in falling, 
Stoneman insisted that the boy be put to bed. 

Turning to Dr. Cameron, he asked: 



A Night Hawk 287 

"Why should they put a brute like this in charge of the 
poor?" 

"That's a large question, sir, at this time," said the 
doctor politely, "and now that you have asked it, I have 
some things I've been longing for an opportunity to say 
to you." 

"Be seated, sir," the old Commoner answered, "I shall 
be glad to hear them." 

Elsie's heart leaped with joy over the possible outcome 
of this appeal, and she left the room with a smile for the 
doctor. 

"First, allow me," said the Southerner pleasantly, "to 
express my sorrow at your long illness, and my pleasure 
at seeing you so well. Your children have won the love 
of all our people and have had our deepest sympathy in 
your illness." 

Stoneman muttered an inaudible reply, and the doctor 
went on: 

"Your question brings up, at once, the problem of the 
misery and degradation into which our country has sunk 
under negro rule " 

Stoneman smiled coldly and interrupted: 

"Of course, you understand my position in politics, 
Doctor Cameron — I am a Radical Republican." 

" So much the better," was the response. "I have been 
longing for months to get your ear. Your word will be all 
the more powerful if raised in our behalf. The negro is 
the master of our State, county, city, and town govern- 
ments. Every school, college, hospital, asylum, and 
poorhouse is his prey. What you have seen is but a 



288 The Clansman 

sample. Negro insolence grows beyond endurance. Their 
women are taught to insult their old mistresses and mock 
their poverty as they pass in their old, faded dresses. 
Yesterday a black driver struck a white child of six with 
his whip, and when the mother protested, she was ar- 
rested by a negro policeman, taken before a negro magis- 
trate, and fined $10 for 'insulting a freedman.' " 

Stoneman frowned: "Such things must be very ex- 
ceptional." 

"They are everyday occurrences and cease to excite 
comment. Lynch, the Lieutenant-Governor, who has 
bought a summer home here, is urging this campaign of 
insult with deliberate purpose " 

The old man shook his head. "I can't think the 
Lieutenant-Governor guilty of such petty villainy." 

"Our school commissioner," the doctor continued, "is 
a negro who can neither read nor write. The black grand 
jury last week discharged a negro for stealing cattle and 
indicted the owner for false imprisonment. No such rate 
of taxation was ever imposed on a civilized people. A 
tithe of it cost Great Britain her colonies. There are 
5,000 homes in this county — 2,900 of them are advertised 
for sale by the sheriff to meet his tax bills. This house 
will be sold next court day " 

Stoneman looked up sharply. " Sold for taxes? " 

"Yes; with the farm which has always been Mrs. 
Lenoir's support. In part her loss came from the cotton 
tax. Congress, in addition to the desolation of war, and 
the ruin of black rule, has wrung from the cotton farmers 
of the South a tax of $67,000,000. Every dollar of this 



A Night Hawk 289 

money bears the stain of the blood of starving people. 
They are ready to give up, or to spring some desperate 
scheme of resistance " 

The old man lifted his massive head and his great jaws 
came together with a snap : 

"Resistance to the authority of the National Govern- 
ment?" 

"No; resistance to the travesty of government and 
the mockery of civilization under which we are being 
throttled! The bayonet is now in the hands of a brutal 
negro militia. The tyranny of military martinets was 
child's play to this. As I answered your call this morning 
I was stopped and turned back in the street by the drill of 
a company of negroes under the command of a vicious 
scoundrel named Gus who was my former slave. He is 
the captain of this company. Eighty thousand armed 
negro troops, answerable to no authority save the savage 
instincts of their officers, terrorize the State. Every white 
company has been disarmed and disbanded by our scalla- 
wag Governor. I tell you, sir, we are walking on the crust 
of a volcano " 

Old Stoneman scowled as the doctor rose and walked 
nervously to the window and back. 

"An appeal from you to the conscience of the North 
might save us," he went on eagerly. "Black hordes of 
former slaves, with the intelligence of children and the 
instincts of savages, armed with modern rifles, parade 
daily in front of their unarmed former masters. A white 
man has no right a negro need respect. The children of 
the breed of men who speak the tongue of Burns and 



290 The Clansman 

Shakespeare, Drake and Raleigh, have been disarmed and 
made subject to the black spawn of an African jungle t 
Can human flesh endure it? When Goth and Vandal bar- 
barians overran Rome, the negro was the slave of the 
Roman Empire. The savages of the North blew out the 
light of Ancient Civilization, but in all the dark ages 
which followed they never dreamed the leprous infamy of 
raising a black slave to rule over his former master I 
No people in the history of the world have ever before 
been so basely betrayed, so wantonly humiliated and 
degraded!" 

Stoneman lifted his head in amazement at the burst of 
passionate intensity with which the Southerner poured 
out his protest. 

1 'For a Russian to rule a Pole," he went on, "a Turk to 
rule a Greek, or an Austrian to dominate an Italian is 
hard enough, but for a thick-lipped, flat-nosed, spindle- 
shanked negro, exuding his nauseating animal odour, to 
shout in derision over the hearths and homes of white men 
and women is an atrocity too monstrous for belief. Our 
people are yet dazed by its horror. My God ! when they 
realize its meaning, whose arm will be strong enough to 
hold them?" 

"I should think the South was sufficiently amused with 
resistance to authority," interrupted Stoneman. 

" Even so. Yet there is a moral force at the bottom of 
every living race of men. The sense of right, the feeling 
of racial destiny — these are unconquered and unconquer- 
able forces. Every man in South Carolina to-day is glad 
that slavery is dead. The war was not too great a price 



A Night Hawk 291 

for us to pay for the lifting of its curse. And now to ask a 
Southerner to be the slave of a slave " 

"And yet, Doctor," said Stoneman coolly, "manhood 
suffrage is the one eternal thing fixed in the nature of 
Democracy. It is inevitable." 

"At the price of racial life? Never!" said the South- 
erner, with fiery emphasis. "This Republic is great, not 
by reason of the amount of dirt we possess, the size of our 
census roll, or our voting register — we are great because 
of the genius of the race of pioneer white freemen who 
settled this continent, dared the might of kings, and made 
a wilderness the home of Freedom. Our future depends 
on the purity of this racial stock. The grant of the ballot 
to these millions of semi-savages and the riot of debauch- 
ery which has followed are crimes against human prog- 
ress." 

"Yet may we not train him? " asked Stoneman. 

"To a point, yes, and then sink to his level if you walk 
as his equal in physical contact with him. His race is not 
an infant; it is a degenerate — older than yours in time. 
At last we are face to face with the man whom slavery 
concealed with its rags. Suffrage is but the new paper 
cloak with which the Demagogue has sought to hide the 
issue. Can we assimilate the negro? The very question 
is pollution. In Hayti no white man can own land. 
Black dukes and marquises drive over them and swear at 
them for getting under their wheels. Is civilization a 
patent cloak with which law-tinkers can wrap an animal 
and make him a king? " 

"But the negro must be protected by the ballot," pro- 



292 The Clansman 

tested the statesman. "The humblest man must have 
the opportunity to rise. The real issue is Democracy." 

"The issue, sir, is Civilization! Not whether a negro 
shall be protected, but whether Society is worth saving 
from barbarism." 

"The statesman can educate," put in the Commoner. 

The doctor cleared his throat with a quick little ner- 
vous cough he was in the habit of giving when deeply 
moved. 

"Education, sir, is the development of that which is. 
Since the dawn of history the negro has owned the con- 
tinent of Africa — rich beyond the dream of poet's fancy, 
crunching acres of diamonds beneath his bare black feet. 
Yet he never picked one up from the dust until a white 
man showed to him its glittering light. His land swarmed 
with powerful and docile animals, yet he never dreamed 
a harness, cart, or sled. A hunter by necessity, he never 
made an axe, spear, or arrowhead worth preserving be- 
yond the moment of its use. He lived as an ox, content to 
graze for an hour. In a land of stone and timber he never 
sawed a foot of lumber, carved a block, or built a house 
save of broken sticks and mud. With league on league 
of ocean strand and miles of inland seas, for four thousand 
years he watched their surface ripple under the wind, 
heard the thunder of the surf on his beach, the howl of the 
storm over his head, gazed on the dim blue horizon calling 
him to worlds that lie beyond, and yet he never dreamed a 
sail! He lived as his fathers lived — stole his food, worked 
his wife, sold his children, ate his brother, content to 
drink, sing, dance, and sport as the ape! 



A Night Hawk 293 

"And this creature, half child, half animal, the sport of 
impulse, whim, and conceit, 'pleased with a rattle, tickled 
with a straw,' a being who, left to his will, roams- at night 
and sleeps in the day, whose speech knows no word of 
love, whose passions, once aroused, are as the fury of the 
tiger — they have set this thing to rule over the Southern 
people " 

The doctor sprang to his feet, his face livid, his eyes 
blazing with emotion. "Merciful God — it surpasses 
human belief ! " 

He sank exhausted in his chair, and, extending his hand 
in an eloquent gesture, continued: 

"Surely, surely, sir, the people of the North are not 
mad? We can yet appeal to the conscience and the brain 
of our brethren of a common race?" 

Stoneman was silent as if stunned. Deep down in his 
strange soul he was drunk with the joy of a triumphant 
vengeance he had carried locked in the depths of his 
being, yet the intensity of this man's suffering for a 
people's cause surprised and distressed him as all indi- 
vidual pain hurt him. 

Dr. Cameron rose, stung by his silence and the con- 
sciousness of the hostility with which Stoneman had 
wrapped himself. 

"Pardon my apparent rudeness, Doctor," he said at 
length, extending his hand. "The violence of your feel- 
ing stunned me for the moment. I'm obliged to you for 
speaking. I like a plain-spoken man. I am sorry to 
learn of the stupidity of the former military commandant 
in this town " 



294 The Clansman 

"My personal wrongs, sir," the doctor broke in, "are 
nothing!" 

"I am sorry, too, about these individual cases of suffer- 
ing. They are the necessary incidents of a great up- 
heaval. But may it not all come out right in the end? 
After the Dark Ages, day broke at last. We have the 
printing press, railroad, and telegraph — a revolution in 
human affairs. We may do in years what it took ages to 
do in the past. May not the black man speedily emerge? 
Who knows? An appeal to the North will be a waste of 
breath. This experiment is going to be made. It is 
written in the book of Fate. But I like you. Come to see 
me again." 

Dr. Cameron left with a heavy heart. He had grown a 
great hope in this long-wished-for appeal to Stoneman. 
It had come to his ears that the old man, who had dwelt 
as one dead in their village, was a power. 

It was ten o'clock before the doctor walked slowly back 
to the hotel. As he passed the armoury of the black 
militia, they were still drilling under the command of Gus. 
The windows were open, through which came the steady 
tramp of heavy feet and the cry of " Hep ! Hep ! Hep ! ' ' 
from the Captain's thick cracked lips. The full-dress 
officer's uniform, with its gold epaulets, yellow stripes, and 
glistening sword, only accentuated the coarse bestiality of 
Gus. His huge jaws seemed to hide completely the gold 
braid on his collar. 

The doctor watched, with a shudder, his black bloated 
face covered with perspiration and the huge hand grip- 
ping his sword. 



A Night Hawk 295 

They suddenly halted in double ranks and Gus yelled: 

"Odah, arms!" 

The butts of their rifles crashed to the floor with pre- 
cision, and they were allowed to break ranks for a brief 
rest. 

They sang "John Brown's Body," and as its echoes 
died away a big negro swung his rifle in a circle over his 
head, shouting: 

"Here's your regulator for white trash! En dey's 
nine hundred ob 'em in dis county!" 

"Yas, Lawd!" howled another. 

"We got 'em down now en we keep 'em dar, chile!" 
bawled another. 

The doctor passed on slowly to the hotel. The night 
was dark, the streets were without lights under their pres- 
ent rulers, and the stars were hidden with swift-flying 
clouds which threatened a storm. As he passed under the 
boughs of an oak in front of his house, a voice above him 
whispered : 

"A message for you, sir." 

Had the wings of a spirit suddenly brushed his cheek, he 
would not have been more startled. 

"Who are you? " he asked, with a slight tremor. 

"A Night Hawk of the Invisible Empire, with a mes- 
sage from the Grand Dragon of the Realm," was the low 
answer, as he thrust a note in the doctor's hand. "I 
will wait for your answer." 

The doctor fumbled to his office on the corner of the 
lawn, struck a match, and read: 

"A great Scotch-Irish leader of the South from Mem- 



296 The Clansman 

phis is here to-night and wishes to see you. If you will 
meet General Forrest, I will bring him to the hotel in fif- 
teen minutes. Burn this. Ben." 

The doctor walked quickly back to the spot where he 
had heard the voice, and said: 

"I'll see him with pleasure." 

The invisible messenger wheeled his horse, and in a 
moment the echo of his muffled hoofs had died away in 
the distance. 



CHAPTER XI 
The Beat of a Sparrow's Wing 

DR. CAMERON'S appeal had left the old Com- 
moner unshaken in his idea. There could be but 
one side to any question with such a man, and 
that was his side. He would stand by his own men, too. 
He believed in his own forces. The bayonet was essential 
to his revolutionary programme — hence the hand which 
held it could do no wrong. Wrongs were accidents which 
might occur under any system. 

Yet in no way did he display the strange contradictions 
of his character so plainly as in his inability to hate the 
individual who stood for the idea he was fighting with 
maniac fury. He liked Dr. Cameron instantly, though he 
had come to do a crime that would send him into beg- 
gared exile. 

Individual suffering he could not endure. In this the 
doctor's appeal had startling results. 

He sent for Mrs. Lenoir and Marion. 

"I understand, Madam," he said gravely, "that your 
house and farm are to be sold for taxes." 

"Yes, sir; we've given it up this time. Nothing can be 
done," was the hopeless answer. 

"Would you consider an offer of twenty dollars an acre? " 

"Nobody would be fool enough to offer it. You can 
297 



298 The Clansman 

buy all the land in the county for a dollar an acre. It's 
not worth anything." 

"I disagree with you," said Stoneman cheerfully. "I 
am looking far ahead. I would like to make an ex- 
periment here with Pennsylvania methods on this land. 
I'll give you ten thousand dollars cash for your five 
hundred acres if you will take it." 

"You don't mean it?" Mrs. Lenoir gasped, choking 
back the tears. 

" Certainly. You can at once return to your home. 
I'll take another house, and invest your money for you in 
good Northern securities." 

The mother burst into sobs, unable to speak, while 
Marion threw her arms impulsively around the old man's 
neck and kissed him. 

His cold eyes were warmed with the first tear they had 
shed in years. 

He moved the next day to the Ross estate, which he 
rented, had Sam brought back to the home of his child- 
hood in charge of a good-natured white attendant, and 
installed in one of the little cottages on the lawn. He 
ordered Lynch to arrest the keeper of the poor, and hold 
him on a charge of assault with intent to kill, awaiting the 
action of the Grand Jury. The Lieutenant-Governor 
received this order with sullen anger — yet he saw to its 
execution. He was not quite ready for a break with the 
man who had made him. 

Astonished at his new humour, Phil and Elsie hastened 
to confess to him their love affairs and ask his approval 
of their choice. His reply was cautious, yet he did not 



The Beat of a Sparrow's Wing 299 

refuse his consent. He advised them to wait a few 
months, allow him time to know the young people, and 
get his bearings on the conditions of Southern society. 
His mood of tenderness was a startling revelation to them 
of the depth and intensity of his love. 

When Mrs. Lenoir returned with Marion to her vine- 
clad home, she spent the first day of perfect joy since the 
death of her lover husband. The deed had not yet been 
made of the transfer of the farm, but it was only a ques- 
tion of legal formality. She was to receive the money in 
the form of interest-bearing securities and deliver the 
title on the following morning. 

Arm in arm, mother and daughter visited again each 
hallowed spot, with the sweet sense of ownership. The 
place was in perfect order. Its flowers were in gorgeous 
bloom, its walks clean and neat, the fences painted, and 
the gates swung on new hinges. 

They stood with their arms about one another, watch- 
ing the sun sink behind the mountains, with tears of grati- 
tude and hope stirring their souls. 

Ben Cameron strode through the gate, and they hur- 
ried to meet him with cries of joy. 

"Just dropped in a minute to see if you are snug for the 
night," he said. 

"Of course, snug and so happy we've been hugging one 
another for hours," said the mother. "Oh, Ben, the 
clouds have lifted at last!" 

"Has Aunt Cindy come yet? " he asked. 

"No, but she'll be here in the morning to get breakfast. 
We don't want anything to eat," she answered. 



300 The Clansman 

"Then I'll come out when I'm through my business to- 
night, and sleep in the house to keep you company." 

"Nonsense," said the mother, "we couldn't think of 
putting you to the trouble. We've spent many a night 
here alone." 

"But not in the past two years," he said with a frown. 

"We're not afraid," Marion said with a smile. "Be- 
sides, we'd keep you awake all night with our laughter and 
foolishness, rummaging through the house." 

"You'd better let me," Ben protested. 

"No," said the mother, "we'll be happier to-night alone, 
with only God's eye to see how perfectly silly we can be. 
Come and take supper with us to-morrow night. Bring 
Elsie and her guitar — I don't like the banjo — and we'll 
have a little love feast with music in the moonlight." 

"Yes, do that," cried Marion. "I know we owe this 
good luck to her. I want to tell her how much I love her 
for it." 

"Well, if you insist on staying alone," said Ben re- 
luctantly, "I'll bring Miss Elsie to-morrow, but I don't 
like your being here without Aunt Cindy to-night." 

"Oh, we're all right!" laughed Marion, "but what I 
want to know is what you are doing out so late every 
night since you've come home, and where you were gone 
for the past week? " 

"Important business," he answered soberly. 

"Business — I expect!" she cried. "Look here, Ben 
Cameron, have you another girl somewhere you're flirt- 
ing with?" 

"Yes," he answered slowly, coming closer and his 



The Beat of a Sparrow's Wing 301 

voice dropping to a whisper, "and her name is 
Death. ,, 

"Why, Ben!" Marion gasped, placing her trembling 
hand unconsciously on his arm, a faint flush mantling her 
cheek and leaving it white. 

"What do you mean?" asked the mother in low 
tones. 

"Nothing that I can explain. I only wish to warn you 
both never to ask me such questions before any one." 

"Forgive me," said Marion, with a tremor. "I didn't 
think it serious." 

Ben pressed the little warm hand, watching her mouth 
quiver with a smile that was half a sigh, as he answered : 

"You know I'd trust either of you with my life, but I 
can't be too careful." 

"We'll remember, Sir Knight," said the mother. 
"Don't forget, then, to-morrow — and spend the evening 
with us. I wish I had one of Marion's new dresses done. 
Poor child, she has never had a decent dress in her life 
before. You know I never look at my pretty baby 
grown to such a beautiful womanhood without hearing 
Henry say over and over again — 'Beauty is a sign of 
the soul — the body is the soul! ' " 

"Well, I've my doubts about your improving her with 
a fine dress," he replied thoughtfully. "I don't believe 
that more beautifully dressed women ever walked the 
earth than our girls of the South who came out of the war 
clad in the pathos of poverty, smiling bravely through 
the shadows, bearing themselves as queens though they 
wore the dress of the shepherdess." 



302 The Clansman 

"I'm almost tempted to kiss you for that, as you once 
took advantage of me!" said Marion, with enthusiasm. 

The moon had risen and a whippoorwill was chanting 
his weird song on the lawn as Ben left them leaning on the 
gate. 

It was past midnight before they finished the last 
touches in restoring their nest to its old homelike appear- 
ance and sat down happy and tired in the room in which 
Marion was born, brooding and dreaming and talking 
over the future. 

The mother was hanging on the words of her daughter, 
all the baffled love of the dead poet husband, her griefs 
and poverty consumed in the glowing joy of new hopes. 
Her love for this child was now a triumphant passion, 
which had melted her own being into the object of wor- 
ship, until the soul of the daughter was superimposed on 
the mother's as the magnetized by the magnetizer. 

"And you'll never keep a secret from me, dear?" she 
asked Marion. 

"Never." 

"You'll tell me all your love affairs? " she asked softly, 
as she drew the shining blonde head down on her shoul- 
der. 

"Faithfully." 

"You know I've been afraid sometimes you were keep- 
ing something back from me, deep down in your heart — 
and I'm jealous. You didn't refuse Henry Grier because 
you loved Ben Cameron — now, did you?" 

The little head lay still before she answered: 




MAE MARSH AS THE VICTIM OF RECONSTRUCTION. 
The Birth of a Nation." 



The Beat of a Sparrow's Wing 303 

"How many times must I tell you, Silly, that I've 
loved Ben since I can remember, that I will always love 
him, and when I meet my fate, at last, I shall boast to my 
children of my sweet girl romance with the Hero 
of Piedmont, and they shall laugh and cry with me 
over " 

" What's that?" whispered the mother, leaping to her 
feet. 

"I heard nothing," Marion answered, listening. 

"I thought I heard footsteps on the porch." 

"Maybe it's Ben, who decided to come anyhow," said 
the girl. 

"But he'd knock!" whispered the mother. 

The door flew open with a crash, and four black brutes 
leaped into the room, Gus in the lead, with a revolver in 
his hand, his yellow teeth grinning through his thick lips. 

"Scream now, an' I blow yer brains out," he growled. 

Blanched with horror, the mother sprang before Mar- 
ion with a shivering cry: 

"What do you want?" 

"Not you," said Gus, closing the blinds and handing a 
rope to another brute. "Tie de ole one ter de bedpost." 

The mother screamed. A blow from a black fist in her 
mouth, and the rope was tied. 

With the strength of despair she tore at the cords, half 
rising to her feet, while with mortal anguish she gasped: 

"For God's sake, spare my baby ! Do as you will with 
me, and kill me — do not touch her ! " 

Again the huge fist swept her to the floor. 

Marion staggered against the wall, her face white, her 



304 The Clansman 

delicate lips trembling with the chill of a fear colder than 
death. 

"We have no money — the deed has not been de- 
livered," she pleaded, a sudden glimmer of hope flashing 
in her blue eyes. 

Gus stepped closer, with an ugly leer, his flat nose di- 
lated, his sinister bead eyes wide apart, gleaming apelike, 
as he laughed: 

"We ain't atter money ! " 

The girl uttered a cry, long, tremulous, heart-rending, 
piteous. 

A single tiger spring, and the black claws of the beast 
sank into the soft white throat and she was still. 



CHAPTER XII 
At the Dawn of Day 

IT was three o'clock before Marion regained con- 
sciousness, crawled to her mother, and crouched in 
dumb convulsions in her arms. 

"What can we do, my darling? " themotheraskedatlast. 

"Die — thank God, we have the strength left!" 

"Yes, my love," was the faint answer. 

"No one must ever know. We will hide quickly every 
trace of crime. They will think we strolled to Lover's 
Leap and fell over the cliff, and my name will always 
be sweet and clean — you understand — come, we must 
hurry " 

With swift hands, her blue eyes shining with a strange 
light, the girl removed the shreds of torn clothes, bathed, 
and put on the dress of spotless white she wore the night 
Ben Cameron kissed her and called her a heroine. 

The mother cleaned and swept the room, piled the torn 
clothes and cord in the fireplace and burned them, dressed 
herself as if for a walk, softly closed the doors, and hur- 
ried with her daughter along the old pathway through the 
moonlit woods. 

At the edge of the forest she stopped and looked back 
tenderly at the little home shining amid the roses, caught 
their faint perfume and faltered: 
30s 



306 The Clansman 

"Let's go back a minute — I want to see his room, and 
kiss Henry's picture again." 

"No, we are going to him now — I hear him calling us 
in the mists above the cliff," said the girl — "come, we 
must hurry. We might go mad and fail ! ' ' 

Down the dim cathedral aisles of the woods, hallowed 
by tender memories, through which the poet lover and 
father had taught them to walk with reverent feet and 
without fear, they fled to the old meeting-place of Love. 

On the brink of the precipice, the mother trembled, 
paused, drew back, and gasped: 

"Are you not afraid, my dear? " 

"No; death is sweet now," said the girl. "I fear only 
the pity of those we love." 

"Is there no other way? We might go among stran- 
gers," pleaded the mother. 

' ' We could not escape ourselves ! The thought of life is 
torture. Only those who hate me could wish that I live. 
The grave will be soft and cool, the light of day a burning 
shame." 

" Come back to the seat a moment — let me tell you my 
love again," urged the mother. "Life still is dear while 
I hold your hand." 

As they sat in brooding anguish, floating up from the 
river valley came the music of a banjo in a negro cabin, 
mingled with vulgar shout and song and dance. A verse 
of the ribald senseless lay of the player echoed above the 
banjo's pert refrain: 

"Chicken in de bread tray, pickin' up dough; 
Granny, will your dog bite? No, chile, no!" 



At the Dawn of Day 307 

The mother shivered and drew Marion closer. 

" Oh, dear! oh, dear! has it come to this — all my 
hopes of your beautiful life! " 

The girl lifted her head and kissed the quivering 
lips. 

"With what loving wonder we saw you grow," she 
sighed, "from a tottering babe on to the hour we watched 
the mystic light of maidenhood jdawn in your blue eyes — 
and all to end in this hideous, leprous shame. No — No! 
I will not have it! It's only a horrible dream ! God is 
not dead!" 

The young mother sank to her knees and buried her 
face in Marion's lap in a hopeless paroxysm of grief. 

The girl bent, kissed the curling hair, and smoothed it 
with her soft hand. 

A sparrow chirped in the tree above, a wren twittered 
in a bush, and down on the river's bank a mocking-bird 
softly waked his mate with a note of thrilling sweetness. 
"The morning is coming, dearest; we must go," said 
Marion. "This shame I can never forget, nor will the 
world forget. Death is the only way." 

They walked to the brink, and the mother's arms stole 
round the girl. 

"Oh, my baby, my beautiful darling, life of my life, 
heart of my heart, soul of my soul! " 

They stood for a moment, as if listening to the music of 
the falls, looking out over the valley faintly outlining it- 
self in the dawn. The first far-away streaks of blue 
light on the mountain ranges, denning distance, slowly 
appeared. A fresh motionless day brooded over the 



308 The Clansman 

world as the amorous stir of the spirit of morning rose 
from the moist earth of the fields below. 

A bright star still shone in the sky, and the face of the 
mother gazed on it intently. Did the Woman-spirit, the 
burning focus of the fiercest desire to live and will, catch 
in this supreme moment the star's Divine speech before 
which all human passions sink into silence? Perhaps, 
for she smiled. The daughter answered with a smile; 
and then, hand in hand, they stepped from the cliff into 
the mists and on through the opal gates of death. 



Book IV-The Ku Klux Klan 

CHAPTER I 
The Hunt for the Animal 

AUNT CINDY came at seven o'clock to get break- 
fast, and finding the house closed and no one at 
home, supposed Mrs. Lenoir and Marion had 
remained at the Cameron House for the night. She sat 
down on the steps, waited grumblingly an hour, and then 
hurried to the hotel to scold her former mistress for keep- 
ing her out so long. 

Accustomed to enter familiarly, she thrust her head 
into the dining-room, where the family were at breakfast 
with a solitary guest, muttering the speech she had been 
rehearsing on the way: 

"I lak ter know what sort er way dis — whar's Miss 
Jeannie?" 

Ben leaped to his feet. 

"Isn't she at home?" 

"Been waitin' dar two hours." 

"Great God!" he groaned, springing through the door 
and rushing to saddle the mare. As he left he called to 
his father: "Let no one know till I return." 

At the house he could find no trace of the crime he had 
suspected. Every room was in perfect order. He 
309 



310 The Clansman 

searched the yard carefully and under the cedar by the 
window he saw the barefoot tracks of a negro. The 
white man was never born who could make that track. 
The enormous heel projected backward, and in the hollow 
of the instep where the dirt would scarcely be touched by 
an Aryan was the deep wide mark of the African's flat 
foot. He carefully measured it, brought from an out- 
house a box, and fastened it over the spot. 

It might have Been an ordinary chicken thief, of 
course. He could not tell, but it was a fact of big import. 
A sudden hope flashed through his mind that they might 
have risen with the sun and strolled to their favourite 
haunt at Lover's Leap. 

In two minutes he was there, gazing with hard-set eyes 
atMarion'shatandhandkerchief lyingonthe shelving rock. 

The mare bent her glistening neck, touched the hat 
with her nose, lifted her head, dilated her delicate nostrils, 
looked out over the cliff with her great soft half-human 
eyes and whinnied gently. 

Ben leaped to the ground, picked up the handkerchief, 
and looked at the initials, "M. L.," worked in the corner. 
He knew what lay on the river's brink below as well as if 
he stood over the dead bodies. He kissed the letters of 
her name, crushed the handkerchief in his locked hands, 
and cried: 

"Now, Lord God, give me strength for the service of 
my people!" 

He hurriedly examined the ground, amazed to find no 
trace of a struggle or crime. Could it be possible they 
had ventured too near the brink and fallen over? 



The Hunt for the Animal 311 

He hurried to report to his father his discoveries, in- 
structed his mother and Margaret to keep the servants 
quiet until the truth was known, and the two men re- 
turned along the river's brink to the foot of the cliff. 

They found the bodies close to the water's edge. 
Marion had been killed instantly. Her fair blonde head 
lay in a crimson circle sharply denned in the white sand. 
But the mother was still warm with life. She had scarcely 
ceased to breathe. In one last desperate throb of love the 
trembling soul had dragged the dying body to the girl's 
side, and she had died with her head resting on the fair 
round neck as though she had kissed her and fallen asleep. 

Father and son clasped hands and stood for a moment 
with uncovered heads. The doctor said at length: 

"Go to the coroner at once and see that he summons 
the jury you select and hand to him. Bring them im- 
mediately. I will examine the bodies before they arrive." 

Ben took the negro coroner into his office alone, turned 
the key, told him of the discovery, and handed him the 
list of the jury. 

"I'll hatter see Mr. Lynch fust, sah," he answered. 

Ben placed his hand on his hip pocket and said coldly: 

"Put your cross-mark on those forms I've made out 
there for you, go with me immediately, and summon these 
men. If you dare put a negro on this jury, or open your 
mouth as to what has occurred in this room, I'll kill 
you." 

The negro tremblingly did as he was commanded. 

The coroner's jury reported that the mother and daugh- 
ter had been killed by accidentally falling over the cliff. 



312 The Clansman 

In all the throng of grief -stricken friends who came to 
the little cottage that day, but two men knew the hell-lit 
secret beneath the tragedy. 

When the bodies reached the home, Doctor Cameron 
placed Mrs. Cameron and Margaret outside to receive 
visitors and prevent any one from disturbing him. He 
took Ben into the room and locked the doors. 

"My boy, I wish you to witness an experiment." 

He drew from its case a powerful microscope of French 
make. 

"What on earth are you going to do, sir? " 

The doctor's brilliant eyes flashed with a mystic light 
as he replied: 

"Find the fiend who did this crime — and then we will 
hang him on a gallows so high that all men from the rivers 
to ends of the earth shall see and feel and know the might 
of an unconquerable race of men." 

"But there's no trace of him here." 

"We shall see," said the doctor, adjusting his instru- 
ment. 

"I believe that a microscope of sufficient power will 
reveal on the retina of these dead eyes the image of this 
devil as if etched there by fire. The experiment has been 
made successfully in France. No word or deed of man 
is lost. A German scholar has a memory so wonderful 
he can repeat whole volumes of Latin, German, and 
French without an error. A Russian officer has been 
known to repeat the roll-call of any regiment by reading 
it twice. Psychologists hold that nothing is lost from the 
memory of man. Impressions remain in the brain like 



The Hunt for the Animal 313 

words written on paper in invisible ink. So I believe of 
images in the eye if we can trace them early enough. If 
no impression were made subsequently on the mother's 
eye by the light of day, I believe the fire-etched record of 
this crime can yet be traced." 

Ben watched him with breathless interest. 

He first examined Marion's eyes. But in the cold 
azure blue of their pure depths he could find nothing. 

"It's as I feared with the child," he said. "I can see 
nothing. It is on the mother I rely. In the splendour of 
life, at thirty-seven she was the full-blown perfection 
of womanhood, with every vital force at its highest ten- 
sion " 

He looked long and patiently into the dead mother's 
eye, rose and wiped the perspiration from his face. 

"What is it, sir?" asked Ben. 

Without reply, as if in a trance, he returned to the 
microscope and again rose with the little, quick, nervous 
cough he gave only in the greatest excitement, and whis- 
pered: 

"Look now and tell me what you see." 

Ben looked and said: 

"I can see nothing." 

"Your powers of vision are not trained as mine," re- 
plied the doctor, resuming his place at the instru- 
ment. 

"What do you see?" asked the younger man, bending 
nervously. 

"The bestial figure of a negro — his huge black hand 
plainly defined — the upper part of the face is dim, as if 



314 The Clansman 

obscured by a gray mist of dawn — but the massive jaws 
and lips are clear — merciful God — yes — it's Gus!" 

The doctor leaped to his feet livid with excitement. 

Ben bent again, looked long and eagerly, but could see 
nothing. 

"I'm afraid the image is in your eye, sir, not the 
mother's," said Ben sadly. 

"That's possible, of course," said the doctor, "yet I 
don't believe it. " 

"I've thought of the same scoundrel and tried blood 
hounds on that track, but for some reason they couldn't 
follow it. I suspected him from the first, and especially 
since learning that he left for Columbia on the early morn- 
ing train on pretended official business." 

"Then I'm not mistaken," insisted the doctor, trem- 
bling with excitement. "Now do as I tell you. Find 
when he returns. Capture him, bind, gag, and carry him 
to your meeting-place under the cliff, and let me know." 

On the afternoon of the funeral, two days later, Ben 
received a cypher telegram from the conductor on the 
train telling him that Gus was on the evening mail due at 
Piedmont at nine o'clock. 

The papers had been filled with accounts of the acci- 
dent, and an enormous crowd from the county and many 
admirers of the fiery lyrics of the poet father had come 
from distant parts to honour his name. All business was 
suspended, and the entire white population of the village 
followed the bodies to their last resting-place. 

As the crowds returned to their homes, no notice was 
taken of a dozen men on horseback who rode out of town 



The Hunt for the Animal 315 

by different ways about dusk. At eight o'clock they met 
in the woods near the first little flag-station located on 
McAllister's farm four miles from Piedmont, where a 
buggy awaited them. Two men of powerful build, who 
were strangers in the county, alighted from the buggy and 
walked along the track to board the train at the station 
three miles beyond and confer with the conductor. 

The men, who gathered in the woods, dismounted, re- 
moved their saddles, and from the folds of the blankets 
took a white disguise for horse and man. In a moment it 
was fitted on each horse, with buckles at the throat, 
breast, and tail, and the saddles replaced. The white robe 
for the man was made in the form of an ulster overcoat 
with cape, the skirt extending to the top of the shoes. 
From the red belt at the waist were swung two revolvers 
which had been concealed in their pockets. On each man's 
breast was a scarlet circle within which shone a white 
cross. The same scarlet circle and cross appeared on the 
horse's breast, while on his flanks flamed the three red 
mystic letters, K. K. K. Each man wore a white cap, 
from the edges of which fell a piece of cloth extending to 
the shoulders. Beneath the visor was an opening for the 
eyes and lower down one for the mouth. On the front of 
the caps of two of the men appeared the red wings of a 
hawk as the ensign of rank. From the top of each cap 
rose eighteen inches high a single spike held erect by a 
twisted wire. The disguises for man and horse were made 
of cheap unbleached domestic and weighed less than three 
pounds. They were easily folded within a blanket and 
kept under the saddle in a crowd without discovery. It 



316 The Clansman 

required less than two minutes to remove the saddles, 
place the disguises, and remount. 

At the signal of a whistle, the men and horses arrayed in 
white and scarlet swung into double-file cavalry forma- 
tion and stood awaiting orders. The moon was now 
shining brightly, and its light shimmering on the silent 
horses and men with their tall spiked caps made a picture 
such as the world had not seen since the Knights of the 
Middle Ages rode on their Holy Crusades. 

As the train neared the flag-station, which was dark 
and unattended, the conductor approached Gus, leaned 
over, and said : " I've just gotten a message from the sheriff 
telling me to warn you to get off at this station and slip 
into town. There's a crowd at the depot there waiting 
for you and they mean trouble." 

Gus trembled and whispered: 

"Den fur Gawd's sake lemme off here." 

The two men who got on at the station below stepped 
out before the negro, and as he alighted from the car, 
seized, tripped, and threw him to the ground. The en- 
gineer blew a sharp signal, and the train pulled on. 

In a minute Gus was bound and gagged. 

One of the men drew a whistle and blew twice. A 
single tremulous call like the cry of an owl answered. 
The swift beat of horses' feet followed, and four white- 
and-scarlet clansmen swept in a circle around the 
group. 

One of the strangers turned to the horseman with red- 
winged ensign on his cap, saluted, and said: 

"Here's your man, Night Hawk." 



The Hunt for the Animal 317 

"Thanks, gentlemen," was the answer. "Let us know 
when we can be of service to your county." 

The strangers sprang into their buggy and disappeared 
toward the North Carolina line. 

The clansmen blindfolded the negro, placed him on a 
horse, tied his legs securely, and his arms behind him to 
the ring in the saddle. 

The Night Hawk blew his whistle four sharp blasts, and 
his pickets galloped from their positions and joined him. 

Again the signal rang, and his men wheeled with the 
precision of trained cavalrymen into column formation 
three abreast, and rode toward Piedmont, the single black 
figure tied and gagged in the centre of the white-and- 
scarlet squadron. 



CHAPTER II 

The Fiery Cross 

THE clansmen with their prisoner skirted the 
village and halted in the woods on the river 
bank. The Night Hawk signalled for single file, 
and in a few minutes they stood against the cliff under 
Lover's Leap and saluted their chief, who sat his horse, 
awaiting their arrival. 

Pickets were placed in each direction on the narrow 
path by which the spot was approached, and one was sent 
to stand guard on the shelving rock above. 

Through the narrow crooked entrance they led Gus into 
the cave which had been the rendezvous of the Piedmont 
Den of the Clan since its formation. The meeting-place 
was a grand hall eighty feet deep, fifty feet wide, and more 
than forty feet in height, which had been carved out of the 
stone by the swift current of the river in ages past when 
its waters stood at a higher level. 

To-night it was lighted by candles placed on the ledges 
of the walls. In the centre, on a fallen boulder, sat the 
Grand Cyclops of the Den, the presiding officer of the 
township, his rank marked by scarlet stripes on the white- 
cloth spike of his cap. Around him stood twenty or more 
clansmen in their uniform, completely disguised. One 
among them wore a yellow sash, trimmed in gold, about 



The Fiery Cross 319 

his waist, and on his breast two yellow circles with red 
crosses interlapping, denoting his rank to be the Grand 
Dragon of the Realm, or Commander-in-Chief of the 
State. 

The Cyclops rose from his seat: 

"Let the Grand Turk remove his prisoner for a moment 
and place him in charge of the Grand Sentinel at the door, 
until summoned." 

The officer disappeared with Gus, and the Cyclops 
continued: 

"The Chaplain will open our Council with prayer." 

Solemnly every white-shrouded figure knelt on the 
ground, and the voice of the Rev. Hugh McAlpin, trem- 
bling with feeling, echoed through the cave: 

"Lord God of our Fathers, as in times past thy children, 
fleeing from the oppressor, found refuge beneath the earth 
until once more the sun of righteousness rose, so are we 
met to-night. As we wrestle with the powers of darkness 
now strangling our life, give to our souls to endure as 
seeing the invisible, and to our right arms the strength of 
the martyred dead of our people. Have mercy on the 
poor, the weak, the innocent and defenceless, and deliver 
us from the body of the Black Death. In a land of light 
and beauty and love our women are prisoners of danger 
and fear. While the heathen walks his native heath un- 
harmed and unafraid, in this fair Christian Southland 
our sisters, wives, and daughters dare not stroll at twilight 
through the streets or step beyond the highway at noon. 
The terror of the twilight deepens with the darkness, and 
the stoutest heart grows sick with fear for the red message 



320 The Clansman 

the morning bringeth. Forgive our sins — they are many 
— but hide not thy face from us, O God, for thou art our 
refuge!" 

As the last echoes of the prayer lingered and died in the 
vaulted roof, the clansmen rose and stood a moment in 
silence. 

Again the voice of the Cyclops broke the stillness : 

" Brethren, we are met to-night at the request of the 
Grand Dragon of the Realm, who has honoured us with 
his presence, to constitute a High Court for the trial of a 
case involving life. Are the Night Hawks ready to sub- 
mit their evidence? " 

"We are ready," came the answer. 

"Then let the Grand Scribe read the objects of the 
Order on which your authority rests." 

The Scribe opened his Book of Record, "The Prescript 
of the Order of the Invisible Empire," and solemnly read: 

"To the lovers of law and order, peace and justice, and 
to the shades of the venerated dead, greeting: 

"This is an institution of Chivalry, Humanity, Mercy, 
and Patriotism: embodying in its genius and principles all 
that is chivalric in conduct, noble in sentiment, generous 
in manhood, and patriotic in purpose: its particular 
objects being, 

"First: To protect the weak, the innocent, and the 
defenceless from the indignities, wrongs, and outrages of 
the lawless, the violent, and the brutal; to relieve the in- 
jured and the oppressed: to succour the suffering and un- 
fortunate, and especially the widows and the orphans of 
Confederate Soldiers. 



The Fiery Cross 321 

"Second: To protect and defend the Constitution of 
the United States, and all the laws passed in conformity 
thereto, and to protect the States and the people thereof 
from all invasion from any source whatever. 

"Third: To aid and assist in the execution of all Con- 
stitutional laws, and to protect the people from unlawful 
seizure, and from trial except by their peers in conformity 
to the laws of the land." 

"The Night Hawks will produce their evidence," said 
the Cyclops, "and the Grand Monk will conduct the case 
of the people against the negro Augustus Cassar, the 
former slave of Dr. Richard Cameron." 

Dr. Cameron advanced and removed his cap. His 
snow-white hair and beard, ruddy face and dark-brown 
brilliant eyes made a strange picture in its weird sur- 
roundings, like an ancient alchemist ready to conduct 
some daring experiment in the problem of life. 

"I am here, brethren," he said, "to accuse the black 
brute about to appear of the crime of assault on a daugh- 
ter of the South " 

A murmur of thrilling surprise and horror swept the 
crowd of white-and-scarlet figures as with one common 
impulse they moved closer. 

"His feet have been measured and they exactly tally 
with the negro tracks found under the window of the Le- 
noir cottage. His flight to Columbia and return on the 
publication of their deaths as an accident is a confirma- 
tion of our case. I will not relate to you the scientific ex- 
periment which first fixed my suspicion of this man's 
guilt. My witness could not confirm it, and it might net 



322 The Clansman 

be to you credible. But this negro is peculiarly sensitive 
to hypnotic influence. I propose to put him under this 
power to-night before you, and, if he is guilty, I can make 
him tell his confederates, describe and rehearse the crime 
itself." 

The Night Hawks led Gus before Doctor Cameron, 
untied his hands, removed the gag, and slipped the blind- 
fold from his head. 

Under the doctor's rigid gaze the negro's knees struck 
together, and he collapsed into complete hypnosis, merely 
lifting his huge paws lamely as if to ward a blow. 

They seated him on the boulder from which the Cyclops 
rose, and Gus stared about the cave and grinned as if in a 
dream seeing nothing. 

The doctor recalled to him the day of the crime, and he 
began to talk to his three confederates, describing his plot 
in detail, now and then pausing and breaking into a 
fiendish laugh. 

Old McAllister, who had three lovely daughters at 
home, threw off his cap, sank to his knees, and buried his 
face in his hands, while a dozen of the white figures 
crowded closer, nervously gripping the revolvers which 
hung from their red belts. 

Doctor Cameron pushed them back and lifted his hand 
in warning. 

The negro began to live the crime with fearful realism 
— the journey past the hotel to make sure the victims had 
gone to their home; the visit to Aunt Cindy's cabin to 
find her there; lying in the field waiting for the last light 
of the village to go out; gloating with vulgar exultation 



The Fiery Cross 323 

over their plot, and planning other crimes to follow its 
success — how they crept along the shadows of the hedge- 
row of the lawn to avoid the moonlight, stood under the 
cedar, and through the open windows watched the mother 
and daughter laughing and talking within 

"Min' what I tells you now — Tie de ole one, when I 
gib you de rope," said Gus in a whisper. 

"My God!" cried the agonized voice of the figure with 
the double cross — "that's what the piece of burnt rope in 
the fireplace meant!" 

Doctor Cameron again lifted his hand for silence. 

Now they burst into the room, and with the light of hell 
in his beady, yellow-splotched eyes, Gus gripped his im- 
aginary revolver and growled: 

" Scream, an' I blow yer brains out! " 

In spite of Doctor Cameron's warning, the white-robed 
figures jostled and pressed closer 

Gus rose to his feet and started across the cave as if to 
spring on the shivering figure of the girl, the clansmen 
with muttered groans, sobs, and curses falling back as he 
advanced. He still wore his full Captain's uniform, its 
heavy epaulets flashing their gold in the unearthly light, 
his beastly jaws half covering the gold braid on the collar. 
His thick lips were drawn upward in an ugly leer and his 
sinister bead eyes gleamed like a gorilla's. A single 
fierce leap and the black claws clutched the air slowly as 
if sinking into the soft white throat. 

Strong men began to cry like children. 

" Stop him ! Stop him ! " screamed a clansman, spring- 
ing on the negro and grinding his heel into his big thick 



324 The Clansman 

neck. A dozen more were on him in a moment, kicking, 
stamping, cursing, and crying like madmen. 

Doctor Cameron leaped forward and beat them off: 

"Men! Men! You must not kill him in this con- 
dition!" 

Some of the white figures had fallen prostrate on the 
ground, sobbing in a frenzy of uncontrollable emotion. 
Some were leaning against the walls, their faces buried 
in their arms. 

Again old McAllister was on his knees crying over and 
over again: 

" God have mercy on my people! " 

When at length quiet was restored, the negro was re- 
vived, and again bound, blindfolded, gagged, and thrown 
to the ground before the Grand Cyclops. 

A sudden inspiration flashed in Doctor Cameron's eyes. 
Turning to the figure with yellow sash and double cross 
he said: 

"Issue your orders and despatch your courier to-night 
with the old Scottish rite of the Fiery Cross. It will send 
a thrill of inspiration to every clansman in the hills." 

" Good — prepare it quickly! " was the answer. 

Doctor Cameron opened his medicine case, drew the 
silver drinking-cover from a flask, and passed out of the 
cave to the dark circle of blood still shining in the sand by 
the water's edge. He knelt and filled the cup half full of 
the crimson grains, and dipped it into the river. From a 
saddle he took the lightwood torch, returned within, and 
placed the cup on the boulder on which the Grand 
Cyclops had sat. He loosed the bundle of lightwood, 



The Fiery Cross 325 

took two pieces, tied them into the form of a cross, and 
laid it beside a lighted candle near the silver cup. 

The silent figures watched his every movement. He 
lifted the cup and said: 

"Brethren, I hold in my hand the water of your river 
bearing the red stain of the life of a Southern woman, a 
priceless sacrifice on the altar of outraged civilization. 
Hear the message of your chief." 

The tall figure with the yellow sash and double cross 
stepped before the strange altar, while the white forms 
of the clansmen gathered about him in a circle. He 
lifted his cap, and laid it on the boulder, and his men 
gazed on the flushed face of Ben Cameron, the Grand 
Dragon of the Realm. 

He stood for a moment silent, erect, a smouldering 
fierceness in his eyes, something cruel and yet magnetic in 
his alert bearing. 

He looked on the prostrate negro lying in his uniform 
at his feet, seized the cross, lighted the three upper ends 
and held it blazing in his hand, while, in a voice full of the 
fires of feeling, he said: 

"Men of the South, the time for words has passed, the 
hour for action has struck. The Grand Turk will execute 
this negro to-night and fling his body on the lawn of the 
black Lieutenant-Governor of the State." 

The Grand Turk bowed. 

"I ask for the swiftest messenger of this Den who can 
ride till dawn." 

The man whom Doctor Cameron had already chosen 
stepped forward: 



326 The Clansman 

" Carry my summons to the Grand Titan of the adjoin- 
ing province in North Carolina whom you will find at 
Hambright. Tell him the story of this crime and what 
you have seen and heard. Ask him to report to me here 
the second night from this, at eleven o'clock, with six 
Grand Giants from his adjoining counties, each accom- 
panied by two hundred picked men. In olden times 
when the Chieftain of our people summoned the clan on 
an errand of life and death, the Fiery Cross, extinguished 
in sacrificial blood, was sent by swift courier from village 
to village. This call was never made in vain, nor will it 
be to-night, in the new world. Here, on this spot made 
holy ground by the blood of those we hold dearer than 
life, I raise the ancient symbol of an unconquered race 
of men " :] 

High above his head in the darkness of the cave he 
Uf ted the blazing emblem 

"The Fiery Cross of old Scotland's hills! I quench 
its flames in the sweetest blood that ever stained the 
sands of Time." 

He dipped its ends in the silver cup, extinguished the 
fire, and handed the charred symbol to the courier, who 
quickly disappeared. 



CHAPTER III 

The Parting of the Ways 

THE discovery of the Captain of the African 
Guards lying in his full uniform in Lynch's 
yard send a thrill of terror to the triumphant 
leagues. Across the breast of the body was pinned a scrap 
of paper on which was written in red ink the letters K. 
K. K. It was the first actual evidence of the existence 
of this dreaded order in Ulster county. 

The First Lieutenant of the Guards assumed command 
and held the full company in their armoury under arms 
day and night. Beneath his door he had found a notice 
which was also nailed on the courthouse. It appeared 
in the Piedmont Eagle and in rapid succession in every 
newspaper not under negro influence in the State. It 
read as follows: 

"Headquarters of Realm No 4. 
"Dreadful Era, Black Epoch, 
"Hideous Hour. 
"General Order No. i. 

"The Negro Militia now organized in this State threatens 
the extinction of civilization. They have avowed their purpose 
to make war upon and exterminate the Ku Klux Klan, an 
organization which is now the sole guardian of Society. All 
negroes are hereby given forty-eight hours from the publica- 
tion of this notice in their respective counties to surrender 

327 



328 The Clansman 

their arms at the courthouse door. Those who refuse must 
take the consequences. 

"By order of the G. D. of Realm No. 4. 

"By the Grand Scribe." 



The white people of Piedmont read this notice with a 
thrill of exultant joy. Men walked the streets with an 
erect bearing which said without words: 

"Stand out of the way." 

For the first time since the dawn of Black Rule negroes 
began to yield to white men and women the right of way 
on the streets. 

On the day following, the old Commoner sent for Phil. 

"What is the latest news? " he asked. 

"The town is in a fever of excitement — not over the 
discovery in Lynch's yard — but over the blacker rumour 
that Marion and her mother committed suicide to conceal 
an assault by this fiend." 

"A trumped-up lie," said the old man emphatically. 

"It's true, sir. I'll take Doctor Cameron's word for 
it." 

"You have just come from the Camerons?" 

"Yes." 

"Let it be your last visit. The Camerons are on the 
road to the gallows, father and son. Lynch informs me 
that the murder committed last night, and the insolent 
notice nailed on the courthouse door, could have come 
only from their brain. They are the hereditary leaders of 
these people. They alone would have the audacity to 
fling this crime into the teeth of the world and threaten 
worse. We are face to face with Southern barbarism. 



The Parting of the Ways 329 

Every man now to his own standard! The house of 
Stoneman can have no part with midnight assassins." 

"Nor with black barbarians, father. It is a question of 
who possesses the right of life and death over the citizen, 
the organized virtue of the community, or its organized 
crime. You have mistaken for death the patience of a 
generous people. We call ourselves the champions of 
liberty. Yet for less than they have suffered, kings have 
lost their heads and empires perished before the wrath of 
freemen." 

"My boy, this is not a question for argument between 
us," said the father with stern emphasis. "This con- 
spiracy of terror and assassination threatens to shatter 
my work to atoms. The election on which turns the des- 
tiny of Congress, and the success or failure of my life, is 
but a few weeks away. Unless this foul conspiracy is 
crushed, I am ruined, and the Nation falls again beneath 
the heel of a slaveholders' oligarchy." 

"Your nightmare of a slaveholders' oligarchy does not 
disturb me." 

"At least you will have the decency to break your 
affair with Margaret Cameron pending the issue of my 
struggle of life and death with her father and brother?" 

"Never." 

"Then I will do it for you." 

"I warn you, sir," Phil cried, with anger, "that if it 
comes to an issue of race against race, I am a white man. 
The ghastly tragedy of the condition of society here is 
something for which the people of the South are no longer 
responsible " 



330 The Clansman 

"I'll take the responsibility!" growled the old cynic. 

"Don't ask me to share it," said the younger man 
emphatically. 

The father winced, his lips trembled, and he answered 
brokenly: 

"My boy, this is the bitterest hour of my life that has 
had little to make it sweet. To hear such words from you 
is more than I can bear. I am an old man now — my 
sands are nearly run. But two human beings love me, 
and I love but two. On you and your sister I have 
lavished all the treasures of a maimed and strangled soul 
— and it has come to this ! Read the notice which one of 
your friends thrust into the window of my bedroom last 
night." 

He handed Phil a piece of paper on which was written: 

"The old club-footed beast who has sneaked into our town, 
pretending to search for health, in reality the leader of the 
infernal Union League, will be given forty-eight hours to 
vacate the house and rid this community of his presence. 

"K. K. K." 

"Are you an officer of the Union League?" Phil asked 
in surprise. 

"I am its soul." 

"How could a Southerner discover this, if your own 
children didn't know it? " 

"By their spies who have joined the League." 

"And do the rank and file know the Black Pope at the 
head of the order? " 

"No, but high officials do." 



The Parting of the Ways 331 

"Does Lynch?" 

"Certainly." 

"Then he is the scoundrel who placed that note in your 
room. It is a clumsy attempt to forge an order of the 
Klan. The white man does not live in this town capable 
of that act. I know these people." 

"My boy, you are bewitched by the smiles of a woman 
to deny your own flesh and blood." 

"Nonsense, father — you are possessed by an idea which 
has become an insane mania " 

"Will you respect my wishes?" the old man broke in 
angrily. 

"I will not," was the clear answer. Phil turned and 
left the room, and the old man's massive head sank on his 
breast in helpless baffled rage and grief. 

He was more successful in his appeal to Elsie. He con- 
vinced her of the genuineness of the threat against him. 
The brutal reference to his lameness roused the girl's soul. 
When the old man, crushed by Phil's desertion, broke 
down the last reserve of his strange cold nature, tore his 
wounded heart open to her, cried in agony over his deform- 
ity, his lameness, and the anguish with which he saw the 
threatened ruin of his lif e-work, she threw her arms around 
his neck in a flood of tears and cried: 

" Hush, father, I will not desert you. I will never leave 
you, or wed without your blessing. If I find that my lover 
was in any way responsible for this insult, I'll tear his 
image out of my heart and never speak his name again! " 

She wrote a note to Ben, asking him to meet her at 
sundown on horseback at Lover's Leap. 



332 The Clansman 

Ben was elated at the unexpected request. He was 
hungry for an hour with his sweetheart, whom he had not 
seen save for a moment since the storm of excitement 
broke following the discovery of the crime. 

He hastened through his work of ordering the move- 
ment of the Klan for the night, and determined to surprise 
Elsie by meeting her in his uniform of a Grand Dragon. 

Secure in her loyalty, he would deliberately thus put his 
life in her hands. Using the water of a brook in the woods 
for a mirror, he adjusted his yellow sash and pushed the 
two revolvers back under the cape out of sight, saying to 
himself with a laugh: 

"Betray me? Well, if she does, life would not be 
worth the living! " 

When Elsie had recovered from the first shock of sur- 
prise at the white horse and rider waiting for her under the 
shadows of the old beech, her surprise gave way to grief 
at the certainty of his guilt, and the greatness of his love 
in thus placing his life without a question in her hands. 

He tied the horses in the woods, and they sat down on 
the rustic. 

He removed his helmet cap, threw back the white cape 
showing the scarlet lining, and the two golden circles with 
their flaming crosses on his breast, with boyish pride. 
The costume was becoming to his slender graceful figure, 
and he knew it. 

"You see, sweetheart, I hold high rank in the Empire," 
he whispered. 

From beneath his cape he drew a long bundle which he 
unrolled. It was a triangular flag of brilliant yellow 



The Parting of the Ways 333 

edged in scarlet. In the centre of the yellow ground was 
the figure of a huge black dragon with fiery red eyes and 
tongue. Around it was a Latin motto worked in scarlet: 
"quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus" — what 
always, what everywhere, what by all has been held to be 
true. "The battle-flag of the Klan," he said; "the 
standard of the Grand Dragon." 

Elsie seized his hand and kissed it, unable to speak. 

"Why so serious to-night? " 

"Do you love me very much?" she answered. 

" Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay his 
life at the feet of his beloved," he responded tenderly. 

"Yes, yes; I know — and that is why you are breaking 
my heart. When first I met you — it seems now ages and 
ages ago — I was a vain, self-willed, pert little thing " 

"It's not so. I took you for an angel — you were one. 
You are one to-night." 

"Now," she went on slowly, "in what I have lived 
through you I have grown into an impassioned, serious, 
self -disciplined, bewildered woman. Your perfect trust to- 
night is the sweetest revelation that can come to a woman's 
soul and yet it brings to me unspeakable pain " 

"For what?" 

"You are guilty of murder." 

Ben's figure stiffened. 

"The judge who pronounces sentence of death on a 
criminal outlawed by civilized society is not usually called 
a murderer, my dear." 

"And by whose authority are you a judge? " 

"By authority of the sovereign people who created the 



334 The Clansman 

State of South Carolina. The criminals who claim to be 
our officers are usurpers placed there by the subversion of 
law." 

"Won't you give this all up for my sake? " she pleaded. 
"Believe me, you are in great danger." 

"Not so great as is the danger of my sister and mother 
and my sweetheart — it is a man's place to face danger," 
he gravely answered. 

"This violence can only lead to your ruin and 
shame " 

"I am fighting the battle of a race on whose fate hangs 
the future of the South and the Nation. My ruin and 
shame will be of small account if they are saved," was the 
even answer. 

"Come, my dear," she pleaded tenderly, "you know 
that I have weighed the treasures of music and art and 
given them all for one clasp of your hand, one throb of 
your heart against mine. I should call you cruel did I 
not know you are infinitely tender. This is the only 
thing I have ever asked you to do for me " 

"Desert my people! You must not ask of me this 
infamy, if you love me," he cried. 

"But, listen; this is wrong — this wild vengeance is a 
crime you are doing, however great the provocation. We 
cannot continue to love one another if you do this. Lis- 
ten: I love you better than father, mother, life, or career — 
all my dreams I've lost in you. I've lived through 
eternity to-day with my father " 

"You know me guiltless of the vulgar threat against 
him " 



The Banner of the Dragon 335 

" Yes, and yet you are the leader of desperate men who 
might have done it. As I fought this battle to-day, I've 
lost you, lost myself, and sunk down to the depths of de- 
spair, and at the end rang the one weak cry of a woman's 
heart for her lover ! Your frown can darken the brightest 
sky. For your sake I can give up all save the sense of 
right. I'll walk by your side in life — lead you gently and 
tenderly along the way of my dreams if I can, but if you 
go your way, it shall be mine; and I shall still be glad 
because you are there ! See how humble I am — only you 
must not commit crime!" 

"Come, sweetheart, you must not use that word," he 
protested, with a touch of wounded pride. 

"You are a conspirator " 

"I am a revolutionist." 

"You are committing murder!" 

"I am waging war." 

Elsie leaped to her feet in a sudden rush of anger and 
extended her hand: 

"Good-bye. I shall not see you again. I do not 
know you. You are still a stranger to me." 

He held her hand firmly. 

' ' We must not part in anger, ' ' he said slowly. ' ' I have 
grave work to do before the day dawns. We may not see 
each other again." 

She led her horse to the seat quickly and without wait- 
ing for his assistance sprang into the saddle. 

"Do you not fear my betrayal of your secret?" she 
asked. 

He rode to her side, bent close, and whispered: 



336 The Clansman 

"It's as safe as if locked in the heart of God." 

A little sob caught her voice, yet she said slowly in 
firm tones: 

"If another crime is committed in this county by your 
Klan, we will never see each other again." 

He escorted her to the edge of the town without a 
word, pressed her hand in silence, wheeled his horse, and 
disappeared on the road to the North Carolina line. 



CHAPTER IV 
The Banner of the Dragon 

BEN CAMERON rode rapidly to the rendezvous 
of the pickets who were to meet the coming 
squadrons. 

He returned home and ate a hearty meal. As he 
emerged from the dining-room, Phil seized him by the 
arm and led him under the big oak on the lawn: 

" Cameron, old boy, I'm in a lot of trouble. I've had a 
quarrel with my father, and your sister has broken me all 
up by returning my ring. I want a little excitement to 
ease my nerves. From Elsie's incoherent talk I judge 
you are in danger. If there's going to be a fight, let me 
in." 

Ben took his hand: 

"You're the kind of a man I'd like to have for a 
brother, and I'll help you in love — but as for war — it's 
not your fight. We don't need help." 

At ten o'clock Ben met the local Den at their rendez- 
vous under the cliff, to prepare for the events of the night. 

The forty members present were drawn up before him 
in double rank of twenty each. 

"Brethren," he said to them solemnly, "I have called 
you to-night to take a step from which there can be no 
retreat. We are going to make a daring experiment of 

337 



838 The Clansman 

the utmost importance. If there is a faint heart among 
you, now is the time to retire " 

"We are with you!" cried the men. 

"There are laws of our race, old before this Republic 
was born in the souls of white freemen. The fiat of fools 
has repealed on paper these laws. Your fathers who 
created this Nation were first Conspirators, then Revolu- 
tionists, now Patriots and Saints. I need to-night ten 
volunteers to lead the coming clansmen over this county 
and disarm every negro in it. The men from North Car- 
olina cannot be recognized. Each of you must run this 
risk. Your absence from home to-night will be doubly 
dangerous for what will be done here at this negro armoury 
under my command. I ask of these ten men to ride their 
horses until dawn, even unto death, to ride for their God, 
their native land, and the womanhood of the South! 

"To each man who accepts this dangerous mission I 
offer for your bed the earth, for your canopy the sky, for 
your bread stones; and when the flash of bayonets shall 
fling into your face from the Square the challenge of 
martial law, the protection I promise you — is exile, im- 
prisonment, and death! Let the ten men who accept 
these terms step forward four paces." 

With a single impulse the whole double line of forty 
white-and-scarletfigures moved quickly forward four steps! 

The leader shook hands with each man, his voice 
throbbing with emotion as he said: 

"Stand together like this, men, and armies will march 
and countermarch over the South in vain! We will save 
the life of our people." 



The Banner of the Dragon 339 

The ten guides selected by the Grand Dragon rode 
forward, and each led a division of one hundred men 
through the ten townships of the county and successfully 
disarmed every negro before day without the loss of a life. 

The remaining squadron of two hundred and fifty men 
from Hambright, accompanied by the Grand Titan in 
command of the Province of Western Hill Counties, were 
led by Ben Cameron into Piedmont as the waning moon 
rose between twelve and one o'clock. 

They marched past Stoneman's place on the way to the 
negro armoury, which stood on the opposite side of the 
street a block below. 

The wild music of the beat of a thousand hoofs on the 
cobblestones of the street waked every sleeper. The old 
Commoner hobbled to his window and watched them 
pass, his big hands fumbling nervously, and his soul 
stirred to its depths. 

The ghostlike shadowy columns moved slowly with the 
deliberate consciousness of power. The scarlet circles on 
their breasts could be easily seen when one turned toward 
the house, as could the big red letters K.K.K. on each 
horse's flank. 

In the centre of the line waved from a gold- tipped spear 
the battle-flag of the Klan. As they passed the bright 
lights burning at his gate, old Stoneman could see this 
standard plainly. The huge black dragon with flaming 
eyes and tongue seemed a living thing crawling over a 
scarlet-tipped yellow cloud. 

At the window above stood a little figure watching that 
banner of the Dragon pass with aching heart. 



340 The Clansman 

Phil stood at another, smiling with admiration for their 
daring: 

"By George, it stirs the blood to see it! You can't 
crush men of that breed!" 

The watchers were not long in doubt as to what the 
raiders meant. 

They deployed quickly around the armoury. A whistle 
rang its shrill cry, and a volley of two hundred and fifty 
carbines and revolvers smashed every glass in the build- 
ing. The sentinel had already given the alarm, and the 
drum was calling the startled negroes to their arms. They 
returned the volley twice, and for ten minutes were an- 
swered with the steady crack of two hundred and fifty 
guns. A white flag appeared at the door, and the firing 
ceased. The negroes laid down their arms and surren- 
dered. All save three were allowed to go to their homes 
for the night and carry their wounded with them. 

The three confederates in the crime of their captain 
were bound and led away. In a few minutes the crash 
of a volley told their end. 

The little white figure rapped at Phil's door and placed 
a trembling hand on his arm: 

"Phil," she said softly, "please go to the hotel and stay 
until you know all that has happened — until you know 
the full list of those killed and wounded. I'll wait. You 
understand?" 

As he stooped and kissed her, he felt -a hot tear roll 
down her cheek. 

"Yes, little Sis, I understand," he answered. 



CHAPTER V 

The Reign of the Klan 

IN quick succession every county followed the ex- 
ample of Ulster, and the arms furnished the negroes 
, by the State and National governments were in the 
hands of the Klan. The League began to collapse in a 
panic of terror. 

A gale of chivalrous passion and high action, con- 
tagious and intoxicating, swept the white race. The 
moral, mental, and physical earthquake which followed 
the first assault on one of their daughters revealed the 
unity of the racial life of the people. Within the span of 
a week they had lived a century. 

The spirit of the South "like lightning had at last 
leaped forth, half startled at itself, its feet upon the ashes 
and the rags," its hands tight-gripped on the throat of 
tyrant, thug, and thief. 

It was the resistless movement of a race, not of any 
man or leader of men. The secret weapon with which 
they struck was the most terrible and efficient in human 
history — these pale hosts of white-and-scarlet horsemen! 
They struck shrouded in a mantle of darkness and terror. 
They struck where the power of resistance was weakest 
and the blow least suspected. Discovery or retaliation 
was impossible. Not a single disguise was ever pene- 
341 



342 The Clansman 

trated. All was planned and ordered as by destiny. The 
accused was tried by secret tribunal, sentenced without 
a hearing, executed in the dead of night without warning, 
mercy, or appeal. The movements of the Klan were like 
clockwork, without a word, save the whistle of the Night 
Hawk, the crack of his revolver, and the hoofbeat of 
swift horses moving like figures in a dream, and vanishing 
in mists and shadows. 

The old club-footed Puritan, in his mad scheme of ven- 
geance and party power, had overlooked the Covenanter, 
the backbone of the South. This man had just begun to 
fight! His race had defied the Crown of Great Britain 
a hundred years from the caves and wilds of Scotland 
and Ireland, taught the English people how to slay a 
king and build a commonwealth, and, driven into exile 
into the wilderness of America, led our Revolution, 
peopled the hills of the South, and conquered the West. 

As the young German patriots of 1812 had organized 
the great struggle for their liberties under the noses of the 
garrisons of Napoleon, so Ben Cameron had met the 
leaders of his race in Nashville, Tennessee, within the 
picket lines of thirty-five thousand hostile troops, and in 
the ruins of an old homestead discussed and adopted the 
ritual of the Invisible Empire. 

Within a few months this Empire overspread a terri- 
tory larger than modern Europe. In the approaching 
election it was reaching out its daring white hands to tear 
the fruits of victory from twenty million victorious con- 
querors. 

The triumph at which they aimed was one of incredible 



1 



The Reign of the Klan 343 

grandeur. They had risen to snatch power out of defeat 
and death. Under their clan leadership the Southern 
people had suddenly developed the courage of the lion, 
the cunning of the fox, and the deathless faith of religious 
enthusiasts. 

Society was fused in the white heat of one sublime 
thought and beat with the pulse of the single will of the 
Grand Wizard of the Klan of Memphis. 

Women and children had eyes and saw not, ears and 
heard not. Over four thousand disguises for men and 
horses were made by the women of the South, and not one 
secret ever passed their lips! 

With magnificent audacity, infinite patience, and re- 
morseless zeal, a conquered people were struggling to 
turn his own weapon against their conqueror, and beat 
his brains out with the bludgeon he had placed in the 
hands of their former slaves. 

Behind the tragedy of Reconstruction stood the re- 
markable man whose iron will alone had driven these 
terrible measures through the chaos of passion, corrup- 
tion, and bewilderment which followed the first assassina- 
tion of an American President. As he leaned on his 
window in this village of the South and watched in speech- 
less rage the struggle at that negro armoury, he felt for the 
first time the foundations sinking beneath his feet. As 
he saw the black cowards surrender in terror, noted the 
indifference and cool defiance with which those white 
horsemen rode and shot, he knew that he had collided 
with the ultimate force which his whole scheme had over- 
looked. 



344 The Clansman 

He turned on his big club foot from the window, 
clinched his fist and muttered: 

"But I'll hang that man for this deed if it's the last act 
of my life!" 

The morning brought dismay to the negro, the carpet- 
bagger, and the scallawag of Ulster. A peculiar freak of 
weather in the early morning added to their terror. The 
sun rose clear and bright except for a slight fog that 
floated from the river valley, increasing the roar of the 
falls. About nine o'clock a huge black shadow suddenly 
rushed over Piedmont from the west, and in a moment the 
town was shrouded in twilight. The cries of birds were 
hushed and chickens went to roost as in a total eclipse of 
the sun. Knots of people gathered on the streets and 
gazed uneasily at the threatening skies. Hundreds of 
negroes began to sing and shout and pray, while sensible 
people feared a cyclone or cloud-burst. A furious down- 
pour of rain was swiftly followed by sunshine, and the 
negroes rose from their knees, shouting with joy to find the 
end of the world had after all been postponed. 

But that the end of their brief reign in a white man's 
land had come, but few of them doubted. The events of 
the night were sufficiently eloquent. The movement of 
the clouds in sympathy was unnecessary. 

Old Stoneman sent for Lynch, and found he had fled to 
Columbia. He sent for the only lawyer in town whom 
the Lieutenant-Governor had told him could be trusted. 

The lawyer was polite, but his refusal to undertake the 
prosecution of any alleged member of the Klan was em- 
phatic. 



The Reign of the Klan 345 

"I'm a sinful man, sir," he said with a smile. "Be- 
sides, I prefer to live, on general principles." 

"I'll pay you well," urged the old man, "and if you 
secure the conviction of Ben Cameron, the man we believe 
to be the head of this Klan, I'll give you ten thousand 
dollars." 

The lawyer was whittling on a piece of pine medita- 
tively. 

"That's a big lot of money in these hard times. I'd 
like to own it, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be good at the 
bank on the other side. I prefer the green fields of 
South Carolina to those of Eden. My harp isn't in tune." 

Stoneman snorted in disgust: 

"Will you ask the Mayor to call to see me at once? " 

"We ain't got none," was the laconic answer. 

"What do you mean? " 

"Haven't you heard what happened to his Honour 
last night? " 

"No." 

"The Klan called to see him," went on the lawyer with 
a quizzical look "at 3 A. M. Rather early for a visit of 
state. They gave him forty-nine lashes on his bare back, 
and persuaded him that the climate of Piedmont didn't 
agree with him. His Honour, Mayor Bizzel, left this 
morning with his negro wife and brood of mulatto chil- 
dren for his home, the slums of Cleveland, Ohio. We are 
deprived of his illustrious example, and he may not be a 
wiser man than when he came, but he's a much sadder 
one." 

Stoneman dismissed the even-tempered member of the 



346 The Clansman 

bar, and wired Lynch to return immediately to Piedmont. 
He determined to conduct the prosecution of Ben Cam- 
eron in person. With the aid of the Lieutenant-Governor 
he succeeded in finding a man who would dare to swear out 
a warrant against him. 

As a preliminary skirmish he was charged with a vio- 
lation of the statutory laws of the United States relating 
to Reconstruction and arraigned before a Commissioner. 

Against Elsie's agonizing protest, old Stoneman ap- 
peared at the courthouse to conduct the prosecution. 

In the absence of the United States Marshal, the war- 
rant had been placed in the hands of the sheriff, return- 
able at ten o'clock on the morning fixed for the trial. The 
new sheriff of Ulster was no less a personage than Uncle 
Aleck, who had resigned his seat in the House to accept 
the more profitable one of High Sheriff of the County. 

There was a long delay in beginning the trial. At 
10:30 not a single witness summoned had appeared, nor 
had the prisoner seen fit to honour the court with his 
presence. 

Old Stoneman sat fumbling his hands in nervous, sullen 
rage, while Phil looked on with amusement. 

"Send for the sheriff," he growled to the Commissioner. 

In a moment Aleck appeared bowing humbly and po- 
litely to every white man he passed. He bent halfway 
to the floor before the Commissioner and said: 

"Marse Ben be here in er minute, sah. He's er eatin' 
his breakfus'. I run erlong erhead." 

Stoneman's face was a thundercloud as he scrambled to 
his feet and glared at Aleck: 



The Reign of the Klan 347 

" Marse Ben? Did you say Marse Ben? Who's he? " 

Aleck bowed low again. 

"De young Colonel, sah — Marse Ben Cameron." 

"And you the sheriff of this county trotted along in 
front to make the way smooth for your prisoner? " 

"Yessah!" 

"Is that the way you escort prisoners before a court?" 

"Dem kin' er prisoners — yessah." 

" Why didn't you walk beside him? " 

Aleck grinned from ear to ear and bowed very low: 

"He say sumfin' to me, sah !" 

"And what did he say? " 

Aleck shook his head and laughed: 

"I hates ter insinuate ter de cote, sah!" 

"What did he say to you? " thundered Stoneman. 

"He say — he say — ef I walk 'longside er him — he 
knock hell outen me, sah ! " 

"Indeed." 

"Yessah, en I 'spec' he would," said Aleck insinuat- 
ingly. "La, he's a gemman, sah, he is! He tell me he 
come right on. He be here sho'." 

Stoneman whispered to Lynch, turned with a look of 
contempt to Aleck, and said: 

"Mr. Sheriff, you interest me. Will you be kind 
enough to explain to this court what has happened to you 
lately to so miraculously change your manners? " 

Aleck glanced around the room nervously. 

" I seed sumfin' — a vision, sah ! " 

1 * A vision? Are you given to visions? " 

" Na-sah. Dis yere wuz er sho' 'nuff vision ! I wuz er 



348 The Clansman 

feelin' bad all day yistiddy. Soon in de mawnin', ez I 
wuz gwine 'long de road, I see a big black bird er settin' on 
de fence. He flop his wings, look right at me en say, 
'Corpse! Corpse! Corpse!'" — Aleck's voice dropped 
to a whisper — "'en las' night de Ku Kluxes come ter see 
me, sah!" 

Stoneman lifted his beetling brows. 

"That's interesting. We are searching for information 
on that subject." 

"Yessah! Dey wuz Sperits, ridin' white hosses wid 
flowin' white robes, en big blood-red eyes! De hosses 
wuz twenty feet high, en some er de Sperits wuz higher 
dan dis cote-house! Dey wuz all baP headed, 'cept 
right on de top whar dere wuz er straight blaze er fire shot 
up in de air ten foot high ! " 

"What did they say to you? " 

"Dey say dat ef I didn't design de sheriff's office, go back 
ter f armin' en behave myself, dey had er job waitin' fer me 
in hell, sah. En shos' you born dey wuz right from dar ! " 

"Of course!" sneered the old Commoner. 

"Yessah! Hit's des lak I tell yer. One ob 'em makes 
me fetch 'im er drink er water. I carry two bucketsful 
ter 'im 'fo' I git done, en I swar ter God he drink it all 
right dar 'f o' my eyes ! He say hit wuz pow'ful dry down 
below, sah ! En den I feel sumfin' bus' loose inside er me, 
en I disremember all dat come ter pass! I made er 
jump fer de ribber bank, en de next I knowed I wuz er 
pullin' fur de odder sho'. I'se er pow'ful good swimmer, 
sah, but I nebber git ercross er creek befo' ez quick ez I 
got ober de ribber las' night." 



The Reign of the Klan 349 

"And you think of going back to farming? " 

"I done begin plowin' dis mornin', marster!" 

"Don't you call me marster!" yelled the old man. 
"Are you the sheriff of this county? " 

Aleck laughed loudly. 

"Na-sah! Dat's er joke! I ain't nuttin' but er plain 
nigger — I wants peace, judge." 

"Evidently we need a new sheriff." 

"Dat's what I tell 'em, sah, dis mornin' — en I des 
flings mysef on de ignance er de cote ! " 

Phil laughed aloud, and his father's colourless eyes 
began to spit cold poison. 

"About what time do you think your master, Colonel 
Cameron, will honour us with his presence?" he asked 
Aleck. 

Again the sheriff bowed. 

"He's er comin' right now, lak I tole yer — he's er gem- 
man, sah." 

Ben walked briskly into the room and confronted the 
Commissioner. 

Without apparently noticing his presence, Stoneman 
said: 

"In the absence of witnesses we accept the discharge 
of this warrant, pending developments." 

Ben turned on his heel, pressed Phil's hand as he passed 
through the crowd, and disappeared. 

The old Commoner drove to the telegraph office and 
sent a message of more than a thousand words to the 
White House, a copy of which the operator delivered to 
Ben Cameron within an hour. 



350 The Clansman 

President Grant next morning issued a proclamation 
declaring the nine Scotch-Irish hill counties of South 
Carolina in a state of insurrection, ordered an army corps 
of five thousand men to report there for duty, pending 
the further necessity of martial law and the suspension 
of the writ of Habeas Corpus. 



CHAPTER VI 

The Counter Stroke 

FROM the hour he had watched the capture of the 
armoury old Stoneman felt in the air a current 
against him which was electric, as if the dead 
had heard the cry of the clansmen's greeting, risen and 
rallied to their pale ranks. 

The daring campaign these men were waging took 
his breath. They were going not only to defeat his dele- 
gation to Congress, but send their own to take their seats, 
reinforced by the enormous power of a suppressed negro 
vote. The blow was so sublime in its audacity, he laughed 
in secret admiration while he raved and cursed. 

The army corps took possession of the hill counties, 
quartering from five to six hundred regulars at each 
courthouse ; but the mischief was done. The State was on 
fire. The eighty thousand rifles with which the negroes 
had been armed were now in the hands of their foes. 
A white rifle-club was organized in every town, village, 
and hamlet. They attended the public meetings with 
their guns, drilled in front of the speakers' stands, yelled, 
hooted, hissed, cursed, and jeered at the orators who 
dared to champion or apologize for negro rule. At night 
the hoofbeat of squadrons of pale horsemen and the 

3Si 



352 The Clansman 

crack of their revolvers struck terror to the heart of every 
negro, carpet-bagger, and scallawag. 

There was a momentary lull in the excitement, which 
Stoneman mistook for fear, at the appearance of the 
troops. He had the Governor appoint a white sheriff, a 
young scallawag from the mountains who was a noted 
moonshiner and desperado. He arrested over a hundred 
leading men in the county, charged them with complicity 
in the killing of the three members of the African Guard, 
and instructed the judge and clerk of the court to refuse 
bail and commit them to jail under military guard. 

To his amazement the prisoners came into Piedmont 
armed and mounted. They paid no attention to the 
deputy sheriffs who were supposed to have them in 
charge. They deliberately formed in line under Ben 
Cameron's direction and he led them in a parade through 
the streets. 

The five hundred United States regulars who were 
camped on the river bank were Westerners. Ben led 
his squadron of armed prisoners in front of this camp and 
took them through the evolutions of cavalry with the pre- 
cision of veterans. The soldiers dropped their games and 
gathered, laughing, to watch them. The drill ended 
with a double-rank charge at the river embankment. 
When they drew every horse on his haunches on the 
brink, firing a volley with a single crash, a wild cheer 
broke from the soldiers, and the officers rushed from their 
tents. 

Ben wheeled his men, galloped in front of the camp, 
drew them up at dress parade, and saluted. A low word 



The Counter Stroke 353 

of command from a trooper, and the Westerners quickly 
formed in ranks, returned the salute, and cheered. The 
officers rushed up, cursing, and drove the men back to 
their tents. 

The horsemen laughed, fired a volley in the air, cheered, 
and galloped back to the courthouse. The court was 
glad to get rid of them. There was no question raised 
over technicalities in making out bail-bonds. The clerk 
wrote the names of imaginary bondsmen as fast as his pen 
could fly, while the perspiration stood in beads on his red 
forehead. 

Another telegram from old Stoneman to the White 
House, and the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended 
and Martial Law proclaimed. 

Enraged beyond measure at the salute from the troops, 
he had two companies of negro regulars sent from Colum- 
bia, and they camped in the Courthouse Square. 

He determined to make a desperate effort to crush the 
fierce spirit before which his forces were being driven like 
chaff. He induced Bizzel to return from Cleveland with 
his negro wife and children. He was escorted to the City 
Hall and reinstalled as Mayor by the full force of seven 
hundred troops, and a negro guard placed around his 
house. Stoneman had Lynch run an excursion from the 
Black Belt, and brought a thousand negroes to attend a 
final rally at Piedmont. He placarded the town with 
posters on which were printed the Civil Rights Bill 
and the proclamation of the President declaring Martial 
Law. 

Ben watched this day dawn with nervous dread. He 



354 The Clansman 

had passed a sleepless night, riding in person to every 
Den of the Klan and issuing positive orders that no white 
man should come to Piedmont. 

A clash with the authority of the United States he had 
avoided from the first as a matter of principle. It was 
essential to his success that his men should commit no act 
of desperation which would imperil his plans. Above 
all, he wished to avoid a clash with old Stoneman per- 
sonally. 

The arrival of the big excursion was the signal for a 
revival of negro insolence which had been planned. The 
men brought from the Eastern part of the State were 
selected for the purpose. They marched over the town 
yelling and singing. A crowd of them, half drunk/ 
formed themselves three abreast and rushed the side- 
walks, pushing every white man, woman, and child into 
the street. 

They met Phil on his way to the hotel and pushed him 
into the gutter. He said nothing, crossed the street, 
bought a revolver, loaded it and put it in his pocket. He 
was not popular with the negroes, and he had been shot 
at twice on his way from the mills at night. The whole 
affair of this rally, over which his father meant to preside, 
filled him with disgust, and he was in an ugly mood. 

Lynch's speech was bold, bitter, and incendiary, and at 
its close the drunken negro troopers from the local garri- ( 
son began to slouch through the streets, two and two, 
looking for trouble. 

At the close of the speaking Stoneman called the officer 
in command of these troops, and said: 



: The Counter Stroke 355 

"Major, I wish this rally to-day to be a proclamation 
of the supremacy of law, and the enforcement of the 
equality of every man under law. Your troops are en- 
titled to the rights of white men. I understand the hotel 
table has been free to-day to the soldiers from the camp 
on the river. They are returning the courtesy extended 
to the criminals who drilled before them. Send two of 
your black troops down for dinner and see that it is 
served. I wish an example for the State." 

"It will be a dangerous performance, sir," the major 
protested. 

The old Commoner furrowed his brow. 

"Have you been instructed to act under my orders?" 

"I have, sir," said the officer, saluting. 

"Then do as I tell you," snapped Stoneman. 

Ben Cameron had kept indoors all day, and dined with 
fifty of the Western troopers whom he had identified as 
leading in the friendly demonstration to his men. Mar- 
garet, who had been busy with Mrs. Cameron entertain- 
ing these soldiers, was seated in the dining-room alone, 
eating her dinner, while Phil waited impatiently in the 
parlour. 

The guests had all gone when two big negro troopers, 
fighting drunk, walked into the hotel. They went to 
the water-cooler and drank ostentatiously, thrusting 
their thick lips coated with filth far into the cocoanut 
dipper, while a dirty hand grasped its surface. 

They pushed the dining-room door open and suddenly 
flopped down beside Margaret. 

She attempted to rise, and cried in rage: 



356 The Clansman 

"How dare you, black brutes?" 

One of them threw his arm around her chair, thrust his 
face into hers, and said with a laugh : 

"Don't hurry, my beauty ; stay and take dinner wid us ! " 

Margaret again attempted to rise, and screamed, as 
Phil rushed into the room with drawn revolver. One of 
the negroes fired at him, missed, and the next moment 
dropped dead with a bullet through his heart. 

The other leaped across the table and through the open 
window. 

Margaret turned, confronting both Phil and Ben with 
revolvers in their hands, and fainted. 

Ben hurried Phil out the back door and persuaded him 
to fly. 

" Man, you must go ! We must not have a riot here to- 
day. There's no telling what will happen. A disturb- 
ance now, and my men will swarm into town to-night. 
For God's sake go, until things are quiet!" 

" But I tell you I'll face it. I'm not afraid," said Phil 
quietly. 

"No, but I am," urged Ben. "These two hundred 
negroes are armed and drunk. Their officers may not 
be able to control them, and they may lay their hands on 
you — go — go! — go! — you must go! The train is due in 
fifteen minutes." 

He half lifted him on a horse tied behind the hotel, 
leaped on another, galloped to the flag-station two miles 
out of town, and put him on the north-bound train. 

"Stay in Charlotte until I wire for you," was Ben's 
parting injunction. 



The Counter Stroke ■ 357 

He turned his horse's head for McAllister's, sent the 
two boys with all speed to the Cyclops of each of the ten 
township Dens with positive orders to disregard all wild 
rumours from Piedmont and keep every man out of town 
for two days. 

As he rode back he met a squad of mounted white regu- 
lars, who arrested him. The trooper's companion had 
sworn positively that he was the man who killed the 
negro. 

Within thirty minutes he was tried by drum-head 
court-martial and sentenced to be shot. 



CHAPTER VII 

The Snare of the Fowler 

SWEET was the secret joy of old Stoneman over the 
fate of Ben Cameron. His death sentence would 
strike terror to his party, and his prompt execu- 
tion, on the morning of the election but two days off, 
would turn the tide, save the State, and rescue his daugh- 
ter from a hated alliance. 

He determined to bar the last way of escape. He knew 
the Klan would attempt a rescue, and stop at no means 
fair or foul short of civil war. Afraid of the loyalty of the 
white battalions quartered in Piedmont, he determined to 
leave immediately for Spartanburg, order an exchange of 
garrisons, and, when the death warrant was returned 
from headquarters, place its execution in the hands of a 
stranger, to whom appeal would be vain. He knew such 
an officer in the Spartanburg post, a man of fierce, vin- 
dictive nature, once court-martialed for cruelty, who 
hated every Southern white man with mortal venom. He 
would put him in command of the death watch. 

He hired a fast team and drove across the county with 
all speed, doubly anxious to get out of town before Elsie 
discovered the tragedy and appealed to him for mercy. 
Her tears and agony would be more than he could endure. 
She would stay indoors on account of the crowds, and he 

358 



The Snare of the Fowler 359 

would not be missed until evening, when safely beyond 
her reach. 

When Phil arrived at Charlotte he found an immense 
crowd at the bulletin board in front of the Observer office 
reading the account of the Piedmont tragedy. To his 
horror he learned of the arrest, trial, and sentence of Ben 
for the deed which he had done. 

He rushed to the office of the Division Superintendent 
of the Piedmont Air Line Railroad, revealed his identity, 
told him the true story of the tragedy, and begged for a 
special to carry him back. The Superintendent, who was 
a clansman, not only agreed, but within an hour had the 
special ready and two cars filled with stern-looking men 
to accompany him. Phil asked no questions. He 
knew what it meant. The train stopped at Gastonia 
and King's Mountain and took on a hundred more 
men. 

The special pulled into Piedmont at dusk. Phil ran to 
the Commandant and asked for an interview with Ben 
alone. 

"For what purpose, sir? " the officer asked. ' 

Phil resorted to a ruse, knowing the Commandant to 
be unaware of any difference of opinion between him and 
his father. 

"I hold a commission to obtain a confession from the 
prisoner which may save his life by destroying the Ku 
KluxKlan." 

He was admitted at once and the guard ordered to with- 
draw until the interview ended. 

Phil took Ben Cameron's place, exchanging hat and 



360 The Clansman 

coat, and wrote a note to his father, telling in detail the 
truth, and asked for his immediate interference. 

"Deliver that, and I'll be out of here in two hours," he 
said, as he placed the note in Ben's hand. 

"I'll go straight to the house," was the quick reply. 

The exchange of the Southerner's slouch hat and 
Prince Albert for Phil's derby and short coat completely 
fooled the guard in the dim light. The men were as 
much alike as twins except the shade of difference in 
the colour of their hair. He passed the sentinel with- 
out a challenge, and walked rapidly toward Stoneman's 
house. 

On the way he was astonished to meet five hundred 
soldiers just arrived on a special from Spartanburg. 
Amazed at the unexpected movement, he turned and fol- 
lowed them back to the jail. 

They haltedin front of the building he had just vacated, 
and their commander handed an official document to the 
officer in charge. The guard was changed and a cordon 
of soldiers encircled the prison. 

The Piedmont garrison had received notice by wire to 
move to Spartanburg, and Ben heard the beat of their 
drums already marching to board the special. 

He pressed forward and asked an interview with the 
Captain in command. 

The answer came with a brutal oath: 

"I have been warned against all the tricks and lies this 
town can hatch. The commander of the death watch 
will permit no interview, receive no visitors, hear no 
appeal, and allow no communication with the prisoner 



The Snare of the Fowler 361 

until after the execution. You can announce this to 
whom it may concern." 

"But you've got the wrong man. You have no right 
to execute him," said Ben excitedly. 

"I'll risk it," he answered, with a sneer. 

"Great God!" Ben cried beneath his breath. "The 
old fool has entrapped his son in the net he spread for me!" 



CHAPTER VIII 
A Ride for a Life 

WHEN Ben Cameron failed to find either Elsie 
or her father at home, he hurried to the hotel, 
walking under the shadows of the trees to 
avoid recognition, though his resemblance to Phil would 
have enabled him to pass in his hat and coat unchallenged 
by any save the keenest observers. 

He found his mother's bedroom door ajar and saw Elsie 
within sobbing in her arms. He paused, watched, and 
listened. 

Never had he seen his mother so beautiful — her face 
calm, intelligent, and vital, crowned with a halo of gray. 
She stood, flushed and dignified, softly smoothing the 
golden hair of the sobbing girl whom she had learned to 
love as her daughter. Her whole being reflected the years 
of homage she had inspired in husband, children, and 
neighbours. What a woman! She had made war in- 
evitable, fought it to the bitter end; and in the despair of 
a negro reign of terror, still the prophetess and high 
priestess of a people, serene, undismayed, and defiant, 
she had fitted the uniform of a Grand Dragon on her 
last son, and sewed in secret day and night to equip his 
men. And through it all she was without affectation, 
her sweet motherly ways, gentle manner and bearing al- 
ways resistless to those who came within her influence. 
362 



A Ride for a Life 363 

"If he dies," cried the tearful voice, "I shall never for- 
give myself for not surrendering without reserve and 
fighting his battles with him! " 

"He is not dead yet," was the mother's firm answer. 
"Doctor Cameron is on Queen's back. Your lover's 
men will be riding to-night — these young dare-devil 
Knights of the South, with their life in their hands, 
a song on their lips, and the scorn of death in their 
souls!" 

"Then I'll ride with them," cried the girl, suddenly 
lifting her head. 

Ben stepped into the room, and with a cry of joy Elsie 
sprang into his arms. The mother stood silent until their 
lips met in the long tender kiss of the last surrender of 
perfect love. 

"How did you escape so soon?" she asked quietly, 
while Elsie's head still lay on his breast. 

"Phil shot the brute, and I rushed him out of town. 
He heard the news, returned on the special, took my 
place, and sent me for his father. The guard has been 
changed and it's impossible to see him, or communicate 
with the new Commandant " 

Elsie started and turned pale. 

"And father has hidden to avoid me — merciful God — 
if Phil is executed " 

"He isn't dead yet, either," said Ben, slipping his arm 
around her. "But we must save him without a clash or 
a drop of bloodshed, if possible. The fate of our people 
may hang on this. A battle with United States troops 
now might mean ruin for the South " 



364 The Clansman 

"But you will save him?" Elsie pleaded, looking into 
his face. 

"Yes — or I'll go down with him," was the steady an- 
swer. 

" Where is Margaret? " he asked. 

"Gone to McAllister's with a message from your 
father," Mrs. Cameron replied. 

"Tell her when she returns to keep a steady nerve. I'll 
save Phil. Send her to find her father. Tell him to hold 
five hundred men ready for action in the woods by the 
river and the rest in reserve two miles out of town " 

" May I go with her? " Elsie asked eagerly. 

"No. I may need you," he said. " I am going to find 
the old statesman now, if I have to drag the bottomless 
pit. Wait here until I return. ' ' 

Ben reached the telegraph office unobserved, called the 
operator at Columbia, and got the Grand Giant of the 
county into the office. Within an hour he learned that 
the death warrant had been received and approved. It 
would be returned by a messenger to Piedmont on the 
morning train. He learned also that any appeal for a 
stay must be made through the Honourable Austin Stone- 
man, the secret representative of the Government clothed 
with this special power. The execution had been ordered 
the day of the election, to prevent the concentration of 
any large force bent on rescue. 

"The old fox! " Ben muttered. 

From the Grand Giant at Spartanburg he learned, after 
a delay of three hours, that Stoneman had left with a boy 
in a buggy, which he had hired for three days, and refused 



A Ride for a Life 365 

to tell his destination. He promised to follow and locate 
him as quickly as possible. 

It was the afternoon on the day following, during the 
progress of the election, before Ben received the message 
from Spartanburg that Stoneman had been found at the 
Old Red Tavern where the roads crossed from Piedmont 
to Hambright. It was only twelve miles away, just over 
the line on the North Carolina side. 

He walked with Margaret to the block where Queen 
stood saddled, watching with pride the quiet air of self- 
control with which she bore herself. 

"Now, my sister, you know the way to the tavern. 
Ride for your sweetheart's life. Bring the old man here 
by five o'clock, and we'll save Phil without a fight. Keep 
your nerve. The Commandant knows a regiment of 
mine is lying in the woods, and he's trying to slip out of 
town with his prisoner. I'll stand by my men ready for 
a battle at a moment's notice, but for God's sake get here 
in time to prevent it." 

She stooped from the saddle, pressed her brother's 
hand, kissed him, and galloped swiftly over the old Way 
of Romance she knew so well. 

On reaching the tavern, the landlord rudely denied that 
any such man was there, and left her standing dazed and 
struggling to keep back the tears. 

A boy of eight, with big wide friendly eyes, slipped into 
the room, looked up into her face tenderly, and said: 

"He's the biggest liar in North Carolina. The old 
man's right upstairs in the room over your head. Come 
on; I'll show you." 



366 The Clansman 

Margaret snatched the child in her arms and kissed him. 

She knocked in vain for ten minutes. At last she heard 
his voice within : 

" Go away from that door! " 

"I'm from Piedmont, sir," cried Margaret, "with an 
important message from the Commandant for you." 

"Yes; I saw you come. I will not see you. I know 
everything, and I will hear no appeal." 

"But you cannot know of the exchange of men," 
pleaded the girl. 

"I tell you I know all about it. I will not inter- 
fere " 

"But you could not be so cruel " 

"The majesty of the law must be vindicated. The 
judge who consents to the execution of a murderer is not 
cruel. He is showing mercy to Society. Go, now; I 
will not hear you." 

In vain Margaret knocked, begged, pleaded, and sobbed. 

At last, in a fit of desperation, as she saw the sun sink- 
ing lower and the precious minutes flying, she hurled her 
magnificent figure against the door and smashed the 
cheap lock which held it. 

The old man sat at the other side of the room, looking 
out of the window, with his massive jaws locked in rage. 
The girl staggered to his side, knelt by his chair, placed 
her trembling hand on his arm, and begged: 

"For the love of Jesus, have mercy! Come with me 
quickly!" 

With a growl of anger, he said: 

"No!" 




MIRIAM COOPER AS MARGARET CAMERON. 
^Tke Birth of a Nation." 



A Ride for a Life 367 

"It was a mad impulse, in my defence as well as his 
own." 

"Impulse, yes! But back of it lay banked the fires of 
cruelty and race hatred! The Nation cannot live with 
such barbarism rotting its heart out." 

"But this is war, sir — a war of races, and this an acci- 
dent of war — besides, his life had been attempted by 
them twice before." 

"So I've heard, and yet the negro always happens to 
be the victim " 

Margaret leaped to her feet and glared at the old man 
for a moment in uncontrollable anger. 

"Are you a fiend?" she fairly shrieked. 

Old Stoneman merely pursed his lips. 

The girl came a step closer, and extended her hand 
again in mute appeal. 

"No, I was foolish. You are not cruel. I have heard 
of a hundred acts of charity you have done among our 
poor. Come, this is horrible! It is impossible! You 
cannot consent to the death of your son -" 

Stoneman looked up sharply: 

"Thank God, he hasn't married my daughter yet " 

"Your daughter!" gasped Margaret. "I've told you 
it was Phil who killed the negro! He took Ben's place 
just before the guards were exchanged " 

"Phil! — Phil?" shrieked the old man, staggering to 
his club foot and stumbling toward Margaret with dilated 
eyes and whitening face; "My boy — Phil? — why — why, 
are you crazy? — Phil? Did you say — Phil ? " 

"Yes. Ben persuaded him to go to Charlotte until 



368 The Clansman 

the excitement passed to avoid trouble. Come, come, 
sir, we must be quick! We may be too late! " 

She seized and pulled him toward the door. 

"Yes. Yes, we must hurry," he said in a laboured 
whisper, looking around dazed. "You will show me the 
way, my child — you love him — yes, we will go quickly — 
quickly! my boy — my boy!" 

Margaret called the landlord, and while they hitched 
Queen to the buggy, the old man stood helplessly 
wringing and fumbling his big ugly hands, muttering 
incoherently, and tugging at his collar as though about 
to suffocate. 

As they dashed away, old Stoneman laid a trembling 
hand on Margaret's arm. 

"Your horse is a good one, my child?" 

"Yes; the one Marion saved — the finest in the county." 

"And you know the way? " 

"Every foot of it. Phil and I have driven it often." 

"Yes, yes — you love him," he sighed, pressing her 
hand. 

Through the long reckless drive, as the mare flew over 
the rough hills, every nerve and muscle of her fine body 
at its utmost tension, the father sat silent. He braced 
his club foot against the iron bar of the dashboard and 
gripped the sides of the buggy to steady his feeble bod)^. 
Margaret leaned forward intently watching the road to 
avoid an accident. The old man's strange colourless eyes 
stared straight in front, wide open, and seeing nothing, 
as if the soul had already fled through them into eternity. 



CHAPTER IX 

"Vengeance Is Mine" 

IT was dark long before Margaret and Stoneman 
reached Piedmont. A mile out of town a horse 
neighed in the woods, and, tired as she was, Queen 
threw her head high and answered the call. 

The old man did not notice it, but Margaret knew a 
squadron of white-and-scarlet horsemen stood in those 
woods, and her heart gave a bound of joy. 

As they passed the Presbyterian church, she saw 
through the open window her father standing at his 
Elder's seat leading in prayer. They were holding a 
watch service, asking God for victory in the eventful 
struggle of the day. 

Margaret attempted to drive straight to the jail, and a 
sentinel stopped them. 

"I am Stoneman, sir — the real commander of these 
troops," said the old man, with authority. 

"Orders is orders, and I don't take 'em from you," 
was the answer. 

"Then tell your commander that Mr. Stoneman has 
just arrived from Spartanburg and asks to see him at the 
hotel immediately." 

He hobbled into the parlour and waited in agony while 
369 



370 The Clansman 

Margaret tied the mare. Ben, her mother and father, 
and every servant were gone. 

In a few moments the second officer hurried to Stone- 
man, saluted, and said: 

"We've pulled it off in good shape, sir. They've tried 
to fool us with a dozen tricks, and a whole regiment has 
been lying in wait for us all day. But at dark the Cap- 
tain outwitted them, took his prisoner with a squad of 
picked cavalry, and escaped their pickets. They've been 
gone an hour, and ought to be back with the body " 

Old Stoneman sprang on him with the sudden fury of 
a madman, clutching at his throat. 

"If you've killed my son," he gasped — "go — go! Fol- 
low them with a swift messenger and stop them! It's a 
mistake — you're killing the wrong man — you're killing 
my boy — quick — my God, quick — don't stand there 
staring at me!" 

The officer rushed to obey his order as Margaret entered. 

The old man seized her arm, and said with laboured 
breath: 

"Your father, my child, ask him to come to me 
quickly." 

Margaret hurried to the church, and an usher called 
the doctor to the door. 

He read the question trembling on the girl's lips. 

"Nothing has happened yet, my daughter. Your 
brother has held a regiment of his men in readiness every 
moment of the day." 

"Mr. Stoneman is at the hotel and asks to see you im- 
mediately," she whispered. 



"Vengeance Is Mine" 371 

"God grant he may prevent bloodshed," said the 
father. " Go inside and stay with your mother." 

When Doctor Cameron entered the parlour Stoneman 
hobbled painfully to meet him, his face ashen, and his 
breath rattling in his throat as if his soul were being 
strangled. 

"You are my enemy, Doctor," he said, taking his hand, 
"but you are a pious man. I have been called an infidel 
— I am only a wilful sinner — I have slain my own son, 
unless God Almighty, who can raise the dead, shall save 
him! You are the man at whom I aimed the blow that 
has fallen on my head. I wish to confess to you and set 
myself right before God. He may hear my cry, and have 
mercy on me." 

He gasped for breath, sank into his seat, looked around, 
and said: 

"Will you close the door?" 

The doctor complied with his request and returned. 

"We all wear masks, Doctor," began the trembling 
voice. "Beneath lie the secrets of love and hate from 
which actions move. My will alone forged the chains of 
negro rule. Three forces moved me — party success, a 
vicious woman, and the quenchless desire for personal 
vengeance. When I first fell a victim to the wiles of the 
yellow vampire who kept my house, I dreamed of lifting 
her to my level. And when I felt myself sinking into 
the black abyss of animalism, I, whose soul had learned 
the pathway of the stars and held high converse with the 
great spirits of the ages " 

He paused, looked up in terror, and whispered: 



372 The Clansman 

"What's that noise? Isn't it the distant beat of 
horses' hoofs?" 

"No," said the doctor, listening; "it's the roar of the 
falls we hear, from a sudden change of the wind." 

"I'm done now," Stoneman went on, slowly fumbling 
his hands. "My life has been a failure. The dice of 
God are always loaded." 

His great head drooped lower, and he continued: 

"Mightiest of all was my motive of revenge. Fierce 
business and political feuds wrecked my iron mills. I 
shouldered their vast debts, and paid the last mortgage 
of a hundred thousand dollars the week before Lee in- 
vaded my State. I stood on the hill in the darkness, 
cried, raved, cursed, while I watched the troops lay those 
mills in ashes. Then and there I swore that I'd live 
'until I ground the South beneath my heel! When I got 
back to my house they had buried a Confederate soldier 
in the field. I dug his body up, carted it to the woods, 
and threw it into a ditch " 

The hand of the white-haired Southerner suddenly 
gripped old Stoneman's throat — and then relaxed. His 
head sank on his breast, and he cried in anguish: 

"God be merciful to me a sinner! Would I, too, seek 
revenge!" 

Stoneman looked at the doctor, dazed by his sudden 
onslaught and collapse. 

"Yes, he was somebody's boy down here," he went on, 
"who was loved perhaps even as I love — I don't blame 
you. See, in the inside pocket next to my heart I carry 
the pictures of Phil and Elsie taken from babyhood up, 



"Vengeance Is Mine" 373 

all set in a little book. They don't know this — nor does 
the world dream I've been so soft-hearted " 

He drew a miniature album from his pocket and fum- 
bled it aimlessly: 

"You know Phil was my first-born " 

His voice broke, and he looked at the doctor helplessly. 

The Southerner slipped his arm around the old man's 
shoulders and began a tender and reverent prayer. 

The sudden thunder of a squad of cavalry with clanking 
sabres swept by the hotel toward the jail. 

Stoneman scrambled to his feet, staggered, and caught 
a chair. 

"It's no use," he groaned, " — they've come with his 
body — I'm slipping down — the lights are going out — I 
haven't a friend! It's dark and cold — I'm alone, and 
lost — God — has — hidden — His — face — from — me ! " 

Voices were heard without, and the tramp of heavy 
feet on the steps. 

Stoneman clutched the doctor's arm in agony: 

"Stop them! — Stop them! Don't let them bring him 
inhere!" 

He sank limp into the chair and stared at the door as it 
swung open and Phil walked in, with Ben and Elsie by his 
side, in full clansman disguise. 

The old man leaped to his feet and gasped: 

"TheKlan!— TheKlan! No? Yes! It's true— glory 
to God, they've saved my boy — Phil — Phil!" 

"How did you rescue him?" Doctor Cameron asked 
Ben. 

"Had a squadron lying in wait on every road that led 



374 The Clansman', 

from town. The Captain thought a thousand men were 
on him, and surrendered without a shot." 



At twelve o'clock Ben stood at the gate with Elsie. 

"Your fate hangs in the balance of this election to- 
night," she said. "I'll share it with you, success or fail- 
ure, life or death." 

"Success, not failure," he answered firmly. "The 
Grand Dragons of six States have already wired victory. 
Look at our lights on the mountains ! They are ablaze — 
range on range our signals gleam until the Fiery Cross is 
lost among the stars ! " 

"What does it mean? " she whispered. 

"That I am a successful revolutionist — that Civiliza- 
tion has been saved, and the South redeemed from 
shame." 



END 



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